OMV Petrom SA, Bucharest, is doubling aromatics production at its 4.5-million tpy Petrobrazi refinery in southeast Romania, near Ploiesti City, building a new 100,000-tpy aromatics unit to replace its current one, commissioned in 1961.
Work includes construction of a new unit that will process 1,500 tonnes/day of reformed gasoline to expand production of aromatics at the refinery to 100,000 tpy from its current output of about 50,000 tpy, OMV Petrom said on Oct. 12.
The new unit specifically will ensure increased recovery of toluene as well as ongoing production of gasoline with a benzene content of less than 1 vol % in compliance with European emission standards, according to the operator.
Scheduled for construction between 2023-25, the new aromatics unit is targeted for startup in 2026.
The project comes as part of the operator’s strategy to meet demand for conventional gasoline in southeastern Europe while executing projects to reduce the refinery’s environmental impact and expand its offering of alternative transportation fuels, according to Radu Ca˘pra˘u, OMV Petrom executive board member responsible for the operator’s downstream business.
“Other major investments will follow at Petrobrazi, both in the technological efficiency of the refinery as well as in the production of second-generation biofuels,” Ca˘pra˘u said.
In its 2021 annual report, OMV Petrom said it expects the Petrobrazi refinery to maintain an average utilization rate over 95% until 2030, save for upcoming major turnarounds planned in 2023 and 2028, when utilization rates will average 85-90%.
OMV Petrom also intends to execute a project to upgrade bottom-of-the-barrel crude material into non-fuel products, including bitumen, carbon black, or calcined coke by up to 200,000 tpy by 2030, the operator said.
In line with its commitments to help meet the European Commission’s goals of reducing CO2 emissions from air travel, OMV Petrom said in late June 2022 that the Petrobrazi refinery will be Romania’s first to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
Following a pilot project completed in July 2020, the refinery was scheduled to produce SAF via co-processing of locally produced rapeseed oil in a series of test-run volumes beginning in July.
By 2030, OMV Petrom plans for the refinery to produce a combined 450,000 tpy of SAF and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), according to Ca˘pra˘u.
Compared to conventional jet fuel, Petrobrazi’s production of SAF would help reduce CO2 emissions from commercial flights by about 70%, while the site’s HVO production—usable as a replacement for conventional diesel—would lower CO2 emissions by at least 65%, according to the operator.
OMV Petrom said it plans to expand the refinery’s output of SAF in the future by incorporating a wider slate of renewable waste feedstocks, such as used cooking oil.