CEPSA owns three refineries in Spain, with an overall distillation capacity of 21 million tons of crude per year. One of them, Refinery La Rabida, located in Huelva, has an Exxon Flexicracker FCC unit which process 1 MM TON/year of a VGO feedstock partially hydrotreated. The main objective of this unit has always been to get the maximum propylene production possible. The use of ZSM5 additives, even with the most active ones, has a limitation due to the dilution effect (the catalyst used at the FCC of Refinery La Rabida before the change, was Brilliant 241 + 8.5% olefinsultra) and it does not avoid the main constraints of the unit, gas and coke. It was at this point, when Cepsa decided to look for a new catalyst, which could achieve maximum propylene production whilst minimising levels of gas and coke. The Cepsa Research Centre carried out a catalyst selection study and Grace Davison offered a new catalyst technology named ProtAgon. ProtAgon 20C was tested firstly at the MAT unit and the results were confirmed at the OCR pilot plant. The study concluded, that not only is it possible to increase the propylene production at the same Riser temperature, but also to maintain the production levels with a 10 or15 oC reduction of Riser temperature, which thus results in less coke and gas. The estimated extra benefit calculated from the data pilot plant was about 11000-14000 euros/day. Based on the above data, Cepsa decided to trial ProtAgon 20C in the commercial unit. The results have been excellent even with only a 20% use of ProtAgon in the Total Inventory. The subsequent use of ProtAgon 20C has confirmed and surpassed the economic forecast. The overall benefit is thought to be of 15000 euros/day.


CEPSA is today a business group with extensive national and international activity in the energy sector and a presence in many European countries as well as in Algeria, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Morocco and Panama. Its activities range from the exploration and production of hydrocarbons to the distribution of their derivatives to end consumers. It also has a petrochemical division closely associated with the refining process and growing interests in natural gas and electricity. With more than 11,000 professionals committed to the company's objectives, CEPSA is a dynamic organisation with a solid financial structure, leading industrial equipment and efficient marketing networks.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.