High Score — Gazprom Neft's Moscow Refinery Finishes First Stage of Modernization

By Elena Zhuk, July 18, 2013

The first stage of modernization at Gazprom neft's Moscow Refinery, which began in 2011, has been completed. The final step in this stage was the launch of the gasoline catalytic cracking hydrotreatment unit and the light naphtha izomerization unit. This means the facility can now produce motor fuels meeting class 5 environmental standards.

Moscow Refinery General Director Arkadiy Yegizaryan showed off the new units to acting Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin who visited the plant with journalists. The move to producing higher quality diesel fuel was made earlier, at the end of May this year when the LCh-24-2000 diesel fuel hydrotreatment unit was rebuilt. Now the refinery's gasoline will also be higher quality.

Yegizaryan said that in the first stage of modernization, management at the facility had been able to solved the problem of elevated sulphur content in gasoline blends, which were now 15 times lower than in class 3 motor fuels. Class 3 motor fuels are still legal in Russia. At the same time, Yegizaryan said it would be hard to fill automobile tanks with gasoline lower than class 5 at Gazprom Neft filling stations in Moscow and Moscow Region which take about 40% of the motor fuels made at the Moscow Refinery.

The modernization was completed two-and-a-half years ahead of the schedule imposed by the Russian motor fuels technical regulations. This includes the construction of two new units. "Units like these take 34-40 months to install in Europe, but we did it in 24 months", Gazprom Neft General Director Alexander Dyukov said.

The projects undertaken as part of the Moscow Refinery modernization program should have a significant effect on the environment. According to an assessment performed by plant managers, next year automobiles which use the facility's gasoline will produce 12.2% less pollution compared to figures this year.

A slight aroma of oil products will still be felt on site, but only until the small bitumen unit is disassembled in 2014. After that, the smell will disappear Yegizaryan promised OGE. Last autumn, a large bitumen unit was built at the site and managers decided to take down the small one.

Because the modernization program is using up-to-date technologies, the modernization will keep the plant from growing larger in acreage. Yegizaryan said the units launched today were some of the most compact on the market. In 2019, during the third stage of modernization, in which refining depth is to increase to 98% and light oil products will account for up to 82% of output, much more needs to be built at the facility.

In the coming two years, during the second stage of modernization, as much will be spent as in the first stage — 32.7 billion roubles. The main objective in the second stage is to build a combined crude refining unit. This should decrease the sanitation zone around the refinery, freeing up almost 500 hectares.

In the third stage, from 2016 to 2019, a deep refining complex will be built. Yegizaryan said that one complex task facing his team