Russian version

July 8, 2022    online media outlet «Realnoe Vremya»

Five stages of quality control at the TAIF-NK Gasoline Plant

One can hardly find a car owner in Tatarstan and the regions next to the republic who would not be familiar with the bright, modern filling stations equipped with the company colors with a winged snow leopard. And those who succeeded in estimation of quality of the fuel sold at these stations become the regular clients of the TAIF Group’s corporate network. But how is the quality control of gasoline carried out, is it only the Volga region that is familiar with it, and finally, who produces the gasoline, where and how is the gasoline produced, and is the slate of products limited to gasoline only? About all of this — in continuation of the materials cycle about the history of the TAIF-NK Refinery.

Most advanced

The «Realnoe Vremya» reporter started his knowledge of the TAIF-NK Gasoline Plant process with the laboratory. And that makes sense. The five stages of quality control are not just words. In the words of Olga Kalacheva, Head of laboratory, at each stage the nuances of processing technology depend, particularly, on the judgement of her subordinates.

— The first stage is quality control of the feedstock — vacuum gas oil and gas condensate. According to the results of laboratory tests, the quality of processed feedstock is determined, the need to enter adjustments to the process parameters to increase the refining depth is also defined, — she said in the interview.

The level of laboratory facilities is impressive: gas chromatographers, sulfur analyzers, distillation analyzers, density meters, titrators, an octane tester, an atomic absorption spectrophotometer for metal content determination - this is not a complete list of equipment of home manufacture and of foreign production required for comprehensive and full-scale tests. There are dozens of state-of-art instrumentation units in total, each of which has its own purpose and tasks. About 100 qualified laboratory specialists at two production facilities in several shifts (at all production stages) provide ongoing monitoring for compliance with the requirements and the required level of petroleum products quality. More than 42 thousand samples for 140 thousand parameters are analyzed per year. Each test can take from 20 minutes to 4-6 hours.

— Over the 17 years that have passed since the foundation of the laboratory, the quality requirements to the refined products in general and to motor gasoline in particular have become significantly tougher, especially in terms of environmental requirements. We control the processes at all production stages until the time of finished products shipment. Presently, the product certificate for our motor gasolines contains 18 indicators in accordance with the requirements of the regulatory document and four additional indicators, — explained Olga Kalacheva.   

No less attention is paid to other types of the Gasoline Plant products: straight-run gasoline that is the feedstock for further processing at the petrochemical enterprises of Tatarstan, diesel fraction, fuel oil, liquefied petroleum gas.

Another important mission entrusted with the laboratory specialists is research:

— We are engaged in testing not only in respect to the commercial products quality, but, in addition, we carry out research studies on various octane boosters, motor gasoline components, corrosion inhibitors and hydrogen sulfide scavengers and mercaptan sulfur sorbers. Only after these laboratory tests novations can be scaled to process technology. Under laboratory conditions, it is determined how additives affect the quality of the finished commercial products — gasolines, — the Head of the Gasoline Plant laboratory noted in a conversation with the «Realnoe Vremya» reporter.  

The quality of work of the TAIF-NK Gasoline Plant laboratory is also evidenced by the fact that based on the results of the competition “The best goods and services of the Republic of Tatarstan” it was recognized as one of the best in Tatarstan in 2020.

Gasoline that extends the life of automobile motor operation

The products of the TAIF-NK Gasoline Plant have been repeatedly recognized as the best ones. The evidence of this is numerous diplomas of republican and federal quality competitions. A considerable part of the awards went to the most mass-product, namely motor gasolines.

However, the compliance of TAIF-NK gasoline with the requirements to motor fuel is constantly confirmed by independent experts. In Tatarstan, the quality of products sold at the republican filling stations is monitored on a regular basis. The specialists of State-finance entity “Fuel and energy resources management office” carry out the surprise inspections.

As far back as 2015, ahead of the deadlines specified by federal requirements, the TAIF-NK Gasoline Plant completely switched over to the production of Euro-5 motor fuel and, today it produces motor fuel of this class exclusively that meets the most stringent global environmental requirements.  

For information: sulfur content in gasolines, mg/kg:

  • Euro-2 — up to 500;
  • Euro-3 — up to 150;
  • Euro-4 — up to 50;
  • Euro-5 — up to 10.

Ilsur Samigullin, Gasoline Plant Director, admits that he himself is a fan of the domestic products, and, being a car user with a solid experience, he has reasons for this:

—At the filling stations of some other manufacturers many car owners, for sure, paid attention to the following signs on the columns with gasoline grade 92 or gasoline grade 95: “the fuel contains such-and-such additives for engine decarboning”. It is not necessary to do this with our gasoline, since it does not form any carbon deposits. At all. Here is the benefit: the sustained use of the TAIF-NK gasoline extends the life of automobile operation as a whole. When using other gasoline for 5-10 years the car, any way, will require expensive maintenance due to carbon deposits. This does not happen with our gasoline. I personally use our gasoline. You always have to look at least several moves ahead, — he shared his personal observations with the «Realnoe Vremya» reporter.

Alexey Hramov, TAIF-NK Chief Engineer, is also a fan of the products of the mother company. In his words, with equal requirements to motor fuel a well-informed person can easily distinguish between the gasolines of different manufacturers. They, like human fingerprints, have a different blend composition. And in all modesty: TAIF-NK has a lot to be proud of.

— It is understood that today we, like other refineries, produce commercial gasolines only according to GOST requirements. However, the blend composition of gasoline produced by TAIF-NK contains many times less substances such as resins, aromatic hydrocarbons. The low content of these substances leads to a more complete combustion of the fuel-air mixture and, as a consequence, to the absence of coking of engine details. In other words, even today, TAIF-NK gasoline can be called branded both in terms of operating characteristics and in terms of environmental friendliness, — he noted.

Not only gasoline

The Gasoline Plant. Nearly everyone who hears this name will be sure that the facility is completely focused on the production of gasoline, and … will be mistaken.

The Plant itself consists of two production facilities. The first one is the oldest. Formerly, the outdated equipment of Nizhnekamskneftekhim stood on this place. It was disassembled in 2001, and the fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCC), the Russias and worlds only, constructed under Russian technology, stretched skywards in the vacant area. In 2006, the first batch of products was already produced.

Shamil Zainagutdinov, Head of FCC Workshop, has been working here since its first days. He started as a young operator of the 4th category in 2001, took part in the disassembling of old equipment, then in the construction of the first gasoline plant in Tatarstan. Now, he runs his mother workshop. He notes, that at TAIF-NK it is more than realistic to climb career ladder for those who are not only ambitious, but also hard-working, proactive and responsible. He himself is a living proof of it. However, we will tell about the people working at the Gasoline Plant and the opportunities that open up to them in the next part of the cycle. As for the FCC unit, it is no wonder that it is called the “heart of the facility”.

— The unit is designed to produce the following products from vacuum gas oil and fuel oil: gasoline, dry gas as a fuel for furnaces of the own production facilities, propane-propylene fraction, butane-butylene fraction. The propane-propylene fraction is supplied as a feedstock to Nizhnekamskneftekhim, the butane-butylene fraction is also partly fed to the petrochemical complex, and partly becomes a feedstock for the production unit of octane booster - methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) from isobutylene contained in it. Another type of octane booster - tert-amyl methyl ether (TAME) - is produced from isoamylenes contained in a light gasoline fraction, also produced at our FCC unit. Own-produced additives are used in the production of gasolines grade 92 and grade 95. We also produce light gas oil, which is supplied to the Crude Oil Processing Plant as a feedstock for diesel fuel production, and heavy gas oil, which is supplied as a feedstock to the carbon black plant, — Shamil Zainagutdinov briefly listed the main types of products produced in the workshop he runs.

The construction of the Gasoline Plant production facility No.2, namely a gas condensate processing unit, started in 2005. Today, the unit with feed capacity of 1 MMTA produces straight-run gasoline that is the main feedstock for the neighboring Nizhnekamskneftekhim, diesel fraction and fuel oil that is the feedstock for the Gasoline Plant production facility No.1, as well as liquefied petroleum gases and kerosene.

The same production facility includes a loading double-sided corridor-type rack with a railway scales, an automobile automatic loading station, offsite facilities with a compounding section and a commercial gasoline storage. In other words, it is the very place where the feedstock are supplied to for further processing, and from here the finished commercial products of the Gasoline Plant are delivered to customers.

By the way, the Company’s responsible approach to environmental issues is also noticeable here: in 2019, the gasoline vapor recovery unit was completely retrofitted, which now almost completely prevents fuel fumes from entering the atmosphere during the shipment operations.

Domestic market is a priority

And in the previous years, which were quieter in geopolitical terms, TAIF-NK focused mainly on providing domestic customers with its products. Now, under the conditions of unprecedentedly sanctions pressure on Russia from the collective West, the correctness of the chosen approach has become obvious. It turned out to be a farsighted and correct solution that at proper time the TAIF Group invested heavily in the creation and continues to invest massively in the development of its own network of branded filling stations in Tatarstan and those, which are operating in a number of neighboring regions.

— We fully satisfy the needs of our filling station network with high-quality own-produced gasoline. As of today, our filling stations cover about 45-50% of the total volume of our production of gasolines grade 92 and grade 95. The rest of the gasoline is sold on the domestic market of Russia, including considerable volumes sold through the Saint-Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange. We fully comply with the recommendations of the RF Ministry of Energy to domestic refineries regarding the sales of at least 12% of production volumes at exchange auctions. TAIF-NK gasoline is supplied to the regions of the Central Federal District, the Volga region. There were sales down to the Far East. The geography is constantly expanding, as well as the circle of customers. These are traders, oil terminals, individual entrepreneurs, third-party large filling station chains, etc., — Artem Shcherbina, Deputy General Director – Commercial Director of TAIF-NK, said in an interview with «Realnoe Vremya».

In his words, TAIF-NK gasoline is attractive to customers for many reasons. However, the top priority is the consistently high quality and high level of responsibility of the Tatarstan refinery, which strictly follows the terms and conditions of contracts and strongly keeps the specified terms of products shipment to customers.

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