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Reforming is a process designed to increase the volume of
gasoline that can be produced from a barrel of crude oil.
Hydrocarbons in the naphtha stream have roughly the same
number of carbon atoms as those in gasoline, but their
structure is generally more complex.
Reforming rearranges naphtha hydrocarbons into gasoline
The reforming process involves three separate catalytic
reactors, each one taking place under carefully controlled
temperature and pressure levels.
Naphtha is mixed with hydrogen and fed through
each reactor chamber in sequence. Additional
hydrogen formed by the catalytic reactors is
recovered and put to use in subsequent
reforming and in other processes throughout the
The other products of reforming are light gases
and a high-octane gasoline blendingcomponent
called reformate.
The octane rating of reformate is important because
it affects the octane rating of the gasoline you buy
at the pump.
By controlling the temperature and flow rate of the
reformer, refinery operators can increase the octane
rating of the reformate, but that also has the effect
of producing less reformate. The reverse is also true:
If demand for high-octane gasoline is lower, the
reformer can be adjusted to produce more
reformate with a lower octane rating.
Hydrotreating Process
For Hydrotreating, two basic processes are applied:
Liquid phase process for kerosene and heavier
straight-run, cracked distillates and vacuum gas oil
Vapour phase process for light straight-run and
cracked fractions.
The basic configuration of the process is as follows:
The feedstock is mixed with hydrogen-rich make up gas
and recycle gas from the reactor. The mixture
exchanges heat with the reactor effluent and is heated
in a furnace. It enters a reactor loaded with catalyst. In
the reactor, the sulphur and the nitrogen compounds
present in the feedstock are converted into hydrogen
sulphide and ammonia respectively.
The olefins present are saturated with hydrogen
to become di-olefins and part of the aromatics
will be hydrogenated. For hydrogenation of
aromatics, a higher pressure is needed in the
reactor compared to the normal operating
The reactor operating conditions are:
Temperatures in the range of 300-380 degrees C
Pressureranging from 10-20 bar for naphtha to
30-45 bar for gasoil.
The catalyst used is normally cobalt,
molybdenum and nickel finely distributed on
alumina extrudes. It slowly gets deactivated by
coke deposit. It is renewed every 2/3 years. It
can be regenerated (by burning off the coke) and
reused typically once or twice before its activity
degenerates. Catalyst regeneration is, nowadays,
mainly carried out ex- situ by specialised firms.
The reaction products leave the reactor and,
after having been cooled to a low temperature,
typically 40-50 degrees C, enter a liquid/gas
separation stage.
The hydrogen-rich gas from the high pressure
separation is recycled to combine with the
feedstock, and the low pressure off-gas stream
rich in hydrogen sulphide is sent to a gas-treating
unit, where hydrogen sulphide is removed.
The clean gas is used as refinery fuel. The liquid
stream is sent to a stripping column where H2S
and other undesirable components are removed,
and to a vacuum drier for removal of water.
Process Schematic
Quench H2 Compressor

Purge Hydrogen

Reactors Fired Heater H 2 S Acid Gas

HP Amine


High Pressure LPG


Low Pressure
Effluent Cooler

Product to
Hydrotreating Processes
Process Function Nomenclature Remarks

Removal of Sulfur from product Hydrodesulphurization (HDS)

Removal of Sulfur to meet stringent Sulfur Deep Dehydrodesulphurization(DHDS)

specification in products

Removal of contaminants to protect catalyst Pretreatment Example: Pretreatment of gasoline before Catalytic

Raising smoke point of kerosene Hydrotreatment Converts smoky aromatics to naphthenes

Denitrification or saturation of olefins in products to Hydrotreatment, Hydrofinishinh Extensively used for unstable cracked products
give stability

Hydrogenation of lube oil to meet color and stability of Hydrofinishing

Thermal Cracking
Catalytic Cracking
Hydro Cracking
Thermal Steam Cracking
Hydrocracking Process

The objective of hydrocracking is to convert heavy oil

feedstocks into high quality, lighter fuel products such as
gasoline, naphtha, jet or kerosene, and diesel, and
hydrowax (unconverted bottoms) which can be used as
petrochemical plant feedstock or lube base stock.
A two-step process is typically employed.
In the first (pre-treat) step, polyaromatic compounds are
saturated and organic nitrogen and sulfur are converted to
ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.
The organic nitrogen contained in the feedstock
would otherwise inhibit the activity of the
cracking catalyst.
In the second (cracking) step, higher molecular
weight hydrocarbon molecules are preferentially
cracked over an acidic metal-containing
hydrocracking catalyst.
The product yields and product properties are
determined by the feedstock, the cracking
catalyst selectivity and the process conditions.
Hydrocracking Process
Typical Yields and Dispositions

PRODUCT Yield, vol% feed Disposition

Light ends Varies depending upon LPG
Naphtha Gasoline; Catalytic
Diesel Diesel
Total volume yield 130 - 140

Gas oil conversion 60 99 %

Catalytic Reforming Process
Process Objective:
To convert low-octane naphtha into a high-
octane reformate for gasoline blending and/or
to provide aromatics (benzene, toluene, and
xylene) for petrochemical plants. Reforming
also produces high purity hydrogen for
hydrotreating processes.
Primary Process Technique:
Reforming reactions occur in chloride promoted
fixed catalyst beds; or continuous catalyst
regeneration (CCR) beds where the catalyst is
transferred from one stage to another, through a
catalyst regenerator and back again.
Desired reactions include: dehydrogenation of
naphthenes to form aromatics; isomerization of
naphthenes; dehydrocyclization of paraffins to form
aromatics; and isomerization of paraffins.
Hydrocracking of paraffins is undesirable due to
increased light-ends make.
Process steps: Naphtha feed and recycle
hydrogen are mixed, heated and sent through
successive reactor beds Each pass requires heat
input to drive the reactions Final pass effluent is
separated with the hydrogen being recycled or
purged for hydrotreating Reformate product can
be further processed to separate aromatic
components or be used for gasoline blending
Catalytic Reforming Process Schematic
3 rd Pass Reactor

2 nd Pass Reactor
1 st Pass Reactor

Naphtha Feed

1 st Pass Heater 2 nd Pass Heater 3 rd Pass Heater

High Purity

LPG HP Separator

LP Separator

Reformate to
Isomerization Process

Isomerisation is the process in which hydrocarbon

molecules are rearranged into a more useful
isomer. For example:
The process is particularly useful in enhancing the
octane rating of petrol, as branched alkanes burn
more efficiently in a car engine than straight-chain

An important example is the isomerisation of

butane (from LPG) to 2-methylpropane
Butane vapour is passed over a solid catalyst,
aluminium chloride, on an inert solid at ca 300
K. The two alkanes are then separated either by
distillation or by passing them through a
molecular sieve, an aluminosilicate.
The branched chain alkane is trapped and the
straight chain passes through and is recirculated
into the reactor. The 2-methylpropane is
subsequently released and used to make a
branched alkane, 2,2,4-trimethylpentane (iso-
octane), for petrol.
Process Schematic

n-Paraffin Feed



Isomerization Hydrogen and

Reactor LPG


Product to
The consolidated naphtha stream obtained from
several sub-units of the refinery complexe naphtha
splitter unit consisting of a series of distillation
columns enables the successful separation of light
naphtha and heavy naphtha from the. The naphtha
splitter is regarded as a physical process for modeling

Naphtha Splitter Unit

General Process Description

Although this section of the process units is depicted as a portion of the Crude Unit Process Flow Diagrams, it is
physically located as a stand-alone section in an adjacent area of the processing plot layout.

The naphtha splitter receives its feedstock as Full RangeNaphthas(FRN) generated from the Crude processing unit
overheads systems or from storage.The FRN first passes through a filter /coalescervessel for removal of trace free
waters, and is then preheated against the naphtha splitter column overheads stream.

The Naphtha Splitter tower is a 20-tray fractionation column, which separates the FRN into a Light Naphtha (LSR)
and a Heavy Naphtha product.Light naphtha from the splitter tower overheads is first cooled against the incoming
FRN and then condensed in an air fin fan cooler into the overhead reflux drum.From this overhead drum LSR is
provided as reflux to the splitter tower or routed to the light naphtha stabilizer tower located in the Gas plant for
stabilization and recovery of light ends LPG.Un-condensed vapors arerecirculatedto the Crude unit overheads
section for recovery.

The splitter tower bottoms are Heavy Naphtha and forms the feed to the NaphthaHydrotreatersection and
subsequently the Catalytic Reformer feedstock. This stream is routed as a hot feed to the NaphthaHydrotreater.

The Naphtha splitter fractionation tower isreboiledby a forced circuit firedreboilersystem.Naphtha splitter
bottoms are pumped via a heat exchanger to recover heat from NaphthaHydrotreaterhot reactor effluent into a
fired furnace to provide the desiredreboilduty to effect the separation of the light and heavynaphthas.