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First to install Top divided wall column (DWC) in ISOM Unit

Mumbai Refinery's foresight to pursue the path not trodden, resulted in installation of the first Top divided wall column (DWC) in Isomerization Unit. It made India the first in the history of refining with the production of a very stringent quality hexane as a by-product along with the main one from an isomerization unit.

While most operating DWCs are characterized by a wall placed in the middle of the column, this was a unique application with the dividing wall running from the top of the column. This project has given unique capability to produce superior quality food grade hexane, meeting stringent Pharma grade specifications (Benzene < 3 ppm, Sulphur < 1 ppm, etc.) which qualifies to be 'world class product'.

Innovation runs deep with CDU-4 Crude Blender

State of the art Crude blender is installed at pump house area inside refinery -1A to mix two streams of crude (Mumbai high & any low sulphur crude) and maintain a consistent ratio of crude feed to crude distillation unit-4. The entire facility was commissioned on 30th Jan 2018 after testing of all the instruments and the control logics.

Before commissioning crude blender, crude mix to the units were controlled manually. Due to variation in tank levels of crude quality fed to the unit it started affecting the yield of light & middle distillates. But post commissioning of crude blender, significant reduction in standard deviation of product draw temperatures are observed & product quality has become more consistent. Besides operational benefits, crude blending facility allows crudes of different types to be purchased and mixed in a homogeneous way for processing in crude distillation unit.

De-aromatic solvents (DAS): Production of a versatile petroleum product

De-aromatized solvents (DAS) are among the most versatile petroleum products used in a wide variety of applications owing to sweet odour, very low aromatic content and negligible reactive impurities. Predominantly, these solvents consist of paraffinic and naphthenic hydrocarbons and find applications in low odour alkyd resin, mosquito repellent (e.g. Good knight, All Out, Maxo etc.), architectural coatings, printing inks & ink cleansing, cosmetics, metal degreasing, adhesives, wood preservatives etc.

This innovation was a result of -

  • Opportunities to capture import driven market of De-aromatic Solvent
  • Valorisation of Kerosene into Niche product like D-80
  • Promote in-house production under "Make in India" initiative

Development of indigenous dewaxing catalyst

As a part of Refinery Modernization Project Lube Oil Base Stock (LOBS) unit, licensed by M/s CLG, was commissioned in 2006. This unit was set up to produce premium grade base oils (Group II, II+ and III) to meet LUBES SBU demand and gain first mover advantage with respect to premium grade lubricants for business growth. This LOBS unit produces aforementioned base oils through hydro processing route based on technology licensed by M/s Chevron, USA. Such base oils are produced catalytic Dewaxing route.

Today, this catalyst technology is closely guarded by M/s ExxonMobil and M/s Chevron respectively, hence it is the most expensive in oil refining operation. In view of this, CRDC has taken initiative to develop cost effective Dewaxing catalyst. As a result, CRDC has successfully developed indigenous Dewaxing catalyst viz. BHARAT-HiCAT which is 1/4th of the cost of commercial catalyst. The successful commercial trial has established BPCL as third company in the world to develop such a niche catalyst.

Development of cost effective Gasoline Sulphur Reduction (GSR)

Many countries worldwide are introducing regulations to reduce sulphur levels in gasoline up to 10 ppm. Sulphur in gasoline increases SOx emissions in combustion gases, reduces the activity of vehicle catalytic converters and promotes corrosion of engine parts. To meet this regulation, refiners are looking for various options to reduce sulphur in gasoline. It has been claimed that reducing sulfur content in gasoline to 30 ppm will improve the effectiveness of catalytic converters in reducing NOx, CO, and un-burned hydrocarbons.

In order to meet the strict sulphur regulations, it is necessary to adopt new technologies to reduce gasoline sulphur, mainly in Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) gasoline which contains high level of sulphur compounds derived from Vacuum Gas Oil (VGO) and atmospheric residue. Out of the total gasoline production, one third comes from the FCCU, which contributes to more than 90% of the total sulphur content in the gasoline pool.

Corporate R&D Centre developed indigenous cost effective Gasoline Sulphur Reduction (GSR) catalyst for FCCU using its spent catalyst. The use of FCCU spent catalyst for preparation of GSR catalyst is a novel idea in the current product which has been done first time in the world. Prior to this innovation refineries imported GSR catalyst supplied by selected vendors that was costly when compared to base catalyst. Use of spent catalyst in production of GSR catalyst has resulted in price reduction as well as addressed disposal issue which is a major environment concern.

Subject invention is patented in India as well as in USA, Europe, Canada, Australia, China, Singapore, UAE and Oman. Commercialization of the indigenous product is done and demonstrated at BPCL. Mumbai Refinery has started using GSR on regular basis in FCCU since Feb'2018.

Advance Process Control in a Continuous Catalytic Regeneration Reformer

Operating units in most refineries have advanced process control implemented in them. But it was the cohesive working of 'Team BPCL Mumbai Refinery' who co-created an advance process controller which not only optimizes almost all aspects of the process - reforming, regeneration, yield, energy but has the inventive and the innovative steps over the prior art for the patent to be granted.

Good ideas don't emerge out of thin air! They need to be worked at and a lot of investment, in terms of time and effort goes in. True to that statement, Mumbai Refinery has been a forerunner in generating excellent ideas and not just implement them but patent the intellectual property associated with it.


Crude Distillation Unit (CDU 4)

The Crude Distillation Unit No 4, is a heat integrated, energy efficient process unit which separates crude oil into several groups of fractions viz. Refinery Gas (which is burnt in the refinery furnaces), Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Bharat Gas), Naphtha, Kerosene, Diesel Oil and Long Residue that is further processed in the Vacuum Distillation Unit (VPU). This unit was commissioned in the year 2014 and has replaced two old crude units and associated vacuum units leading to distillate and energy improvement.

New Crude Distillation Unit (CDU - 3)
Vaccum Distillation Unit
Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (CCU / FCCU)
Hydro-Cracker Unit (HCR)
Lubricating Oil Base Stock (LOBS)
Reformer Feed Unit (RFU)
Naphtha Hydro-Desulphurisation Unit
Catalytic Reforming Unit (CRU)
Aromatic Extraction Unit
New Solvent Unit (NSU)
Bitumen Blowing Unit (BBU)
Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Unit.
Diesel Hydrodesulphurisation (DHDS) Unit
Sulphur Recovery Unit (SRU)
Isomerization Unit (ISOM)
Diesel Hydro-sulphurization Unit
Treating Units
Utilities Network
Waste Water Treatment Plant
Tertiary Treatment Plant (TTP)


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