KBR to offer BP resid hydrocracking process

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 21
-- BP PLC has signed an agreement under which KBR will offer licensing and engineering services for a proprietary resid hydrocracking process.

KBR said it will market BP’s Veba Combi-Cracker (VCC) technology globally for refining, heavy-oil upgrading, and coal-to-liquids processing.

In refineries, VCC technology represents an alternative to delayed coking, the dominant process for upgrading residual material from vacuum distillation units.

VCC feeds vacuum resid to a slurry phase reactor at 200 bar with an antifoaming agent. Hydrogen bubbles through the slurry mixture from below.

Downstream of the slurry reactor, a separator removes unconverted material and the additive, while lighter products move to a fixed-bed catalytic hydrotreatment vessel for removal of nitrogen and sulfur.

Typical products are heavy gas oil, light gas oil, naphtha, and light olefins.

BP says VCC achieves a resid conversion rate of 95%, compared with slightly above 70% for delayed coking.

In addition, VCC’s liquid yield exceeds 100% because of the addition of hydrogen, while liquid yields of cokers typically fall below 80%, BP says.

BP acquired the technology when it absorbed Veba of Germany in 2002.

A 3,500-b/d VCC demonstration plant was built in the 1980s near what is now BP’s 264,000-b/cd Gelsenkirchen refinery in Germany. Poor economic conditions forced closure of the unit in 2000. BP also has operated a 200-b/d VCC pilot plant at Gelsenkirchen able to process a wide range of feedstocks.

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