Interview with Shailendra Mohite
Q1 What is your single biggest concern for 2016?
Sustaining the Refining margins to a fair range, in the medium term of next 4 to 5 years, during a period of over-supplied crude oil, excess refining capacity, surplus refined products (mainly Diesel) and lowering of product demand as competition comes up from cheaper Natural Gas / LNG, unconventional and renewable fuels.
Q2 Over next five years what will be the key supply and demand trends shaping the industry ?
As long as it is not difficult to achieve an acceptable ROI on new capacity, due to supply-demand gaps and pricing, in my view the trend would continue.
The oil price scenario would require some more boost to encourage new investments, though.
It requires support from :
- Integration or partnering across the supply chain to secure product off-take, seek growth in new markets and maximize value
- Government policies on Subsidies, Dieselization, support to new investments thru incentives and Tax concessions
- Geopolitical will and stability / sanctions removals, etc.
Besides new investment on integration, major focus to continue on : optimization, energy efficiency, emission reduction and maximizing Diesel yield at competitive price and delivering at the right price.
Q3 How can Asian refiners and petrochemical producers enhance their operational excellence and improve cost-efficiency
Competition is tougher these days for Asia, mainly from Middle East for Ethylene production capacity as feed-stock dependency on Naphtha is long over.
Middle East has taken up strategic initiatives on integrated infrastructure for Refining and Petrochemicals complex, with mixed-feed Crackers as well Condensates / LPG as major source of Petrochemicals, which should provide an edge over the other Ethylene producers.
Similarly, Asian crackers should change to lighter feedstocks to adapt to the changing feedstock availability and costs.
Q5 How much of a challenge do current and future regulations provide?
Regulations do pose an additional challenge in terms of cost and compliance efforts.
More stringent legislations (IMO & IED) will require significant investments and additional costs for Refiners in near term.
Q6 How important are energy costs and efficiency to refiners and petrochemicals producers?
The sector has multiple problems to tackle :
- Volatility of price & uncertainty of long term supply
- Continued high competitive regional business environment
- Limited export potential
However, refining and petrochemicals companies with feedstock differentiation can capture and capitalize on their competitive advantage on alternative cheaper & abundant feed stocks with suitable technologies to convert these to chemicals.
All these achievements are possible with innovation assisted by energy and cost efficiency.
Q7 Why do you think events such as ARTC Petrochemical are important for the industry? What do you find most beneficial about attending?
Besides networking and meeting with new leaders, major advantages are :
- Thought provoking key-note speeches
- Sharing of views and experiences
- Latest update on regional developments and technological advances
- New products and services via exhibitions
Two ice-breaking questions related to my presentation are :
- Even after 6 decades, FCC is still undergoing evolution : what are the future technological changes that would transform FCC even further ?
- Catalyst portfolio of options to increase refinery profitability
- High octane and olefins combination
- Balanced LPG to Gasoline
- Large capacity 140,000 BPCD
- Two train FCC : each with different operating modes
- Multiple Risers, Multiple Lift Lines & Two Transfer Lines
- Options :
- RFCC : High coke make & large Regenerator flow
- High conversion : Medium Coke make & large Reactor flow
- High conversion RFCC : High coke make & large Reactor and Regenerator flow
- Can FCC handle the future opportunity crudes like Light Tight Oil (USA) and heavy crudes from Oil Sands (Canada) ?
Important aspects of FCC operations :
- Manage LPG yields
- Maintain heat balance
- Control higher alkali metals
- Increase Fe loading
- Low VGOs – purchase VGO or add Residue feedstocks
Light Tight Oil : light, sweet, paraffinic crudes
- Higher Naphtha
- More paraffinic therefore lower RON
- Can maximize Alkylates
- Low Residue content – can bypass Residue processing à VDU btms straight to FCC
- Lower Rare Earth in cat or add ZSM-5 à to get higher RON but control heat balances
Canadian Oil Sands : sour, high CCR, aromatic crudes
- Adjust Riser temps and steam injection for proper feed vaporization
- Change to Resid catalyst