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September 19, 2022    Internet – Realnoe Vremya newspaper

Two milestone anniversaries of Tatarstan diesel fuel production - one of the main commercial products of TAIF-NK’s Crude Oil Processing Plant

Tatarstan oil refining has had two jubilees in 2022: it is the 20th anniversary of the commissioning of the Middle Distillates Hydrotreating Unit at TAIF-NK’s Crude Oil Processing Plant, which started the production of diesel fuel in the republic, and the 10th jubilee of the transition of TAIF’s Crude Oil Processing Plant to the production of Euro-5 diesel fuel. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report about the stages of development of diesel fuel production and whether there is a limit to perfection.

Nearly 3 million tons of diesel fuel was produced in 2021, the volumes have maintained at the same level  in 2022

According to the results of 2021, TAIF-NK JSC produced 7.3 million tons of commercial products. Nearly 3 million tons, or 41% of the total amount, comes from summer, all-season and winter diesel fuel.

These numbers were announced in August at a meeting with participation of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov on results of TAIF Group’s financial and economic performance over the past year.

In 2022, even with the growing pressure of sanctions on Russia, there is no significant decrease in the production of diesel fuel at TAIF-NK.

-  Nowadays we reoriented the shipment of our diesel fuel to the domestic market by a further 24%. Production volumes are the same,” Maksim Novikov, General Director of TAIF-NK JSC said in an interview with Realnoe Vremya during TatOilExpo-2022 international forum.

Moreover, two new types of products were developed in an area where it seemed impossible to create something else: Euro-6 diesel fuel and Arctic diesel fuel.

The sky is the limit

- We issued our own technical specifications based on the current GOST standard but with more stringent requirements for sulphur content in fuel, it decreased twice: from 10 ppm to 5 (Editor’s note: ppm in Latin means pro pro mille, a millionth share, which is 1 ppm is 1 mg/kg of sulphur in a product). Humidity content reduced from 200 ppm to 100. Such indicators as polycyclic aromatics, oxidation stability and flash point were also improved. All this together allowed TAIF-NK to get environment- friendly fuel that has a better performance, reliable for the internal combustion engine significantly outperforming the requirements of the current GOST standard,” Alexey Hramov, Chief Engineer of TAIF-NK JSC told us about what Euro-6 diesel fuel is.

Euro-6 is not a product of the Crude Oil Processing Plant but another unique plant of TAIF-NK — the Heavy Residue Conversion Complex. As they admitted at the plant, it is rather an image-related product going ahead of its time.

- We can produce fuel that not only complying with the GOST standard but considerable exceeding this requirement. It is our cue for the consumer saying that when using TAIF-NK’s fuel, you will not have problems with the engine. Even in more modern and high-tech cars,” noted Alexey Hramov.

However, it should be noted that the novelty product has not gone unnoticed at the federal level. TAIF-NK Euro-6, off-season, grade E, ecological class K5 diesel fuel became a laureate of one of the most prestigious quality competitions in the country — 100 Best Products of Russia.

- The low sulphur content in TAIF-NK Euro-6 diesel fuel allows reducing the exhaust smoke capacity, lowering sulphur oxide emissions and residues in the fuel system, noted Yelena Demidova, Head of the laboratory of Workshop No. 9, Heavy Residue Conversion Complex, and TAIF-NK JSC. In addition, according to her, the innovation permits to significantly slow down the fuel injection system’s wear thanks to a low content of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons preventing deposits in spray nozzles, the combustion furnace and increasing the lifespan of the engine and at the same time reducing the carcinogenic danger of exhaust gases. Another advantage of TAIF-NK Euro-6 is lower oxidation stability, which allows expanding the integrity of diesel fuel’s initial characteristics. In other words, such fuel can be stored for a longer period.

The HRCC produced Euro-6, Crude Oil Processing Plant produced Arctic fuel, Alexey Taymanov, Chief Process Engineer of TAIF-NK JSC talked about the second novelty product. - Arctic fuel is a composite fuel with a set of special additives. It has improved characteristics in such indicators as cloud point and the maximum filtration temperature. I am sure the product will be in demand in northern regions of our country, - he added.

TAIF-NK’s commercial department is already actively creating contacts with potential consumers of both the Arctic and another novelty - an intermediate diesel fuel between ordinary winter and Arctic fuel with up to 44°C of cloud point.

- Russia is a huge country, and the regions of Siberia, the Far East and the North often store big amounts of fuel before the winter season. In other words, they bring fuel in summer and autumn and store it for winter, including diesel fuel. Moreover, of course, they choose the Arctic to avoid any unexpected weather vagaries in order to provide all requirements for quality and be able to fill their equipment during the freezing cold weather. Nowadays we monitor the market and see demand for this product. We also see the demand for it at the Saint-Petersburg Commodity Exchange, - Askar Sulteev, Head of the Commercial Department of TAIF-NK JSC, explained to Realnoe Vremya’s journalist.

From a feedstock area to modern complex: evolution in 20 years

 TAIF was the first in Tatarstan to start thinking about the creation of a full-cycle Crude Oil Processing Plant. CDU-VDU-7 that was rented and then purchased from Nizhnekamskneftekhim was its basis.

- It was built to provide Ethylene Plant with feedstock first, to produce straight-run gasoline from crude oil. In fact, the straight-run gasoline and fuel oil for the combined heat power plant, and this was the full list of target products it produced. The rest was a “by-product.” The unit was put into operation in 1978. But it was a completely different unit, not what we see today, - Vladimir Lahomov, Director of the Crude Oil Processing Plant reminded us the history of TAIF-NK JSC. - The unit was repeatedly revamped: the capacity increased, the vacuum unit was upgraded, then the Middle Distillates Hydrotreating Unit (MDHU) was built...

 - The construction and commissioning of the unique plant – MDHU - was back in 2002. It was the state-of-the-art unit. This unit processed about 1.5 million tons of middle distillates producing 2 000 ppm diesel fuel, which was considered low-sulphur then,” the Chief Engineer of TAIF-NK JSC continued

Times went by, technologies developed, environmental requirements for motor fuel changed. Being proactive TAIF-NK continues upgrading its equipment. In 2008, together with Criterion Catalyst Co Ltd (Great Britain), the Middle Distillates Hydrotreating Unit of the Crude Oil Processing Unit was revamped, which allowed increasing the hydrotreating catalyst’s volume by 10% and fully replacing the catalyst system. After that, TAIF-NK could produce Euro-4 diesel fuel. And modernization of equipment was continued.

- The unit has been revamped and upgraded since 2010. By June 2012, its capacity rose from previous 1.5 million tons to 2.3 million tons, while sulphur content reduced to 10 ppm. If those people who designed the Middle Distillates Hydrotreating Unit in 2002 would have a look at it now, they would likely not recognize the unit. The catalyst content in the reactor increased repeatedly, an additional hydrotreating reactor was installed, and in other words, both the capacity and sulphur removal rate was increased. The furnaces were modified and upgraded. A vacuum column that allowed producing a stable product was additionally installed, - Alexey Hramov briefly described a decade of technology development.

  TAIF-NK was the first in Russia to completely shift its production to Euro-5 diesel fuel production meeting the most stringent world standards. It became a milestone not only in the history of the complex itself, the TAIF Group and Tatarstan, but also in the history of the oil refining industry of the country as a whole.

Speaking at the ceremony of start-up of production, Rustam Minnikhanov, President of Tatarstan named this event a landmark for Tatarstan and the entire Russian Federation. “There were many talks about the possibility of start-up of such production, and TAIF Group of Companies implemented this project at TAIF-NK quickly,” he noted before pressing a symbolic start button together with Albert Shigabutdinov.

-                     For a better understanding, - the Director of Crude Oil Processing Plant specified,                 - Euro-3 is 350 ppm in sulphur content, which is 350g per ton. Euro-4 is 50g per ton, no more. Euro-5 is no more than 10g per ton. The remaining part of sulphur is removed in this complex. It becomes an independent product. Diesel fraction is produced in the CDU when separating crude oil, it is pumped into a tank and then goes to the MDHU. And if the sulphur content in the tank is 1%, or 10,000 ppm, in the MDHU outlet, it is equal to 10 ppm. The sulphur content in diesel fuel reduces 1,000 times. Of course, fewer sulphur, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and other polluting substances are produced during the combustion in the car’s engine And all this lowers the environmental impact,” stressed Vladimir Lahomov.

The Central Laboratory of Crude Oil Processing Plant carefully monitors that the technology is followed scrupulously and there is no complaint about the end product.

- Fuel quality control is provided at all the stages. From the incoming feedstock — crude oil, used to produce oil products, then semi-finished products are analyzed, and so on to the commercial product - throughout the chain.  Every stage has its own diagram, parameters that a product shall comply with. Laboratory test is done according to these parameters,” notes Margarita Urmanova, Head of the Central Laboratory of the Crude Oil Processing Plant.

20 years from a historical context is a short period of time. But for Tatarstan’s oil refinery is an entire era, a path from the full understanding that the republic playing a significant role in oil production on a national basis simply must have its own oil refining to today’s TAIF-NK JSC, a modern oil refinery that can not only produce a wide range of demanded products but also having leading positions in the country in such important indicators as hydrocarbon feed refining depth and the share of recovery of light oil products from it.

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