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Belarusian oil refinery Naftan commissions elemental sulfur production plant

July 31/ 11:07

Novopolotsk. A ceremony to inaugurate an elemental sulfur production plant based on the Claus process took place in OAO Naftan on 30 July, BelTA has learned.

Vitebsk Oblast Governor Nikolai Sherstnev, Novopolotsk Mayor Dmitry Demidov, Chairman of the Belarusian state petrochemical concern Belneftekhim Andrei Rybakov, OAO Naftan Director General Aleksandr Demidov, and Naftan employees took part in the solemn ceremony. Participants of the ceremony also visited previously commissioned hydrogen production plant No.2. The two plants were built from scratch and provided jobs for a total of 174 people.

The elemental sulfur production plant occupies nearly five hectares and is unique in Belarus. The project cost about $130 million. The plant leverages state-of-the-art European technologies. Equipment from Croatia, Czechia, Italy, Canada, USA, Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine was used in the course of its construction. Nearly 100 units of core process equipment have been installed, including thermal reactors, reservoirs, columns, pumps, and furnaces. Over 500 people worked at the construction site at the peak of construction and installation operations.

The elemental sulfur production plant will utilize the hydrogen sulfide the other plants of the enterprise will feed. It will reduce Naftan's emission of pollutants by 14,000 tonnes per annum. The existing actual emission of sulfur dioxide is supposed to be reduced by more than 40%.

Naftan personnel describe the installation as lungs of Novopolotsk. Each of the two Klaus process sections is designed to utilize 3,000m3 of hydrogen sulfide per hour. Every day the plant will be able to make over 200 tonnes of commercial sulfur, which quality meets world requirements. Once the plant is operational, Naftan will be able to satisfy the country's need for elemental sulfur. Elemental sulfur is used by Gomel Chemical Plant and OAO Grodno Azot. Moreover, plans have been made to export elemental sulfur.

Hydrogen production plant No.2 is an important component of the delayed coking complex. At present it operates in an industrial test mode and can satisfy the need of the petrochemical complex for hydrogen. The plant can use raw materials with various combinations of components (liquefied hydrocarbon gas and natural gas) and can produce high-purity hydrogen-containing gas (99.9%), which is needed for hydrogenation processes.

According to Naftan Director General Aleksandr Demidov, 2020 is a special year for the company. The construction of new installations is nearing completion. The largest retooling in the company's history is designed to advance the company's technological development. The implementation of the investment development program will allow Naftan to increase the oil conversion ratio to 90%, the output of light oil products to 65%, make new products, and reduce the environmental footprint while improving industrial safety.

Once all the planned measures are fulfilled, Naftan will be able to accomplish a number of important goals: increase the output of motor fuels, sell quality Belarusian petroleum coke on the market, improve the ecological situation in the region by reducing hydrogen sulfide emissions, make commercial sulfur, improve the energy effectiveness of manufacturing processes, and optimize operational costs.

Aleksandr Demidov drew attention to the delayed coking complex under construction. The complex represents a chain of mutually dependent production facilities. The modernization of some of them has already been completed. Initially the company poured efforts and resources into reconstructing diesel fuel hydrotreatment plant No.2. The reconstruction was completed in September 2018. All the diesel fuel Naftan makes now is compliant with the Euro-5 standard. The economic effect is close to $20 million per annum.

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