281644 Challenges of Lowering Aromatic Content in KSA Gasoline

Thursday, November 1, 2012: 2:10 PM
331 (Convention Center )
Nasiru M. Tukur and Saeed S. Al-Alloush, P&CSD, Saudi Aramco, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

The number of registered vehicles in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has increased more than 45% during the last 10 years. This has been attributed to high population growth (CAGR of 3.1% from 2004-10) and rising per capita income of the Kingdom (CAGR of 3.5% during 2000-08). Furthermore, road transport fuel outlook has shown an annual average growth rate of 4.7% reaching about 1.9 million B/Doe in 2030. The anticipated traffic growth is expected to present a key challenge to maintaining and improving air quality.

Mobile sources have since been identified as the primary contributors of NOx, VOC, PM and CO emissions in KSA – back in 1998 when field measurements were conducted by King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM). Improvements in fuel quality will reduce air pollutants from vehicles and have a direct positive impact on human health and the environment. Saudi Aramco took the proactive initiative to further improve air quality by developing a clean fuel quality roadmap to achieve the following goals:

·     improve the quality of the environment to provide clean air to protect human health for current and future generations;

·     maintain a competitive position in global markets for continuing fuel export; and

·     ensure fuel compatibility with future automotive engine technology.

The critical elements of the clean transportation fuels (CTF) program are a reduction in sulfur content in the gasoline and diesel products to 10 ppm, reduction in the gasoline benzene to 1 vol.% and a maximum gasoline aromatic content of 35 vol.%. These reductions are to be implemented at different stages and vary by refinery. As a consequence, CTF projects were initiated that will install new processing units at the company’s domestic refineries to meet the new gasoline and diesel products requirements.

This presentation will focus on the challenges on lowering the aromatic content at the various refineries.  The projects at Ras Tanura, Jazan and Rabigh II will install new units that will extract the aromatics from reformate pool in an aromatic complex to produce Benzene, Toluene and mixed xylenes (BTX). The benzene and toluene which can be used as solvents or industrial feedstock will be used to support new petrochemical projects in the Kingdom. Paraxylene will be exported for use in the growing worldwide polyester-based clothing industry. YASREF (Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company) is planning to extract Benzene only in Benzene Extraction Unit, while Riyadh Refinery is to incorporate a Benzene Saturation Unit to remove the benzene precursors.


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