April 7, 2008 at 2:32 pm #3706
KBR Announces Valero’s Successful MTBE to Iso-octene Conversion Project
Thursday April 3, 2008 4:23 pm ET
HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–KBR today announced the completion of a methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) to Iso-octene conversion project at Valero’s Corpus Christi, Texas refinery.
The conversion project is based on the NExOCTANET process, developed by Neste Oil Corporation of Finland and licensed exclusively in the Americas through KBR. The process selectively converts isobutylene to iso-octene or optionally iso-octane, which are high octane, high quality gasoline blendstocks that also offer benefits in addressing challenges with ethanol blending. The process is especially attractive for refiners wishing to discontinue MTBE production since much of the MTBE unit can be utilized in the conversion to a NExOCTANE plant. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 eliminated the use of MTBE in US gasoline making the conversion a priority for Valero.
“This project represents the fourth application of the NExOCTANE technology and further demonstrates KBR’s capabilities in the petrochemicals and refining technology markets,” said Tim Challand, President of KBR’s Technology Business Unit. “Our partnership with Neste Oil provides KBR the opportunity to offer the NExOCTANE technology among its slate of third party technology offerings to complement our own suite of technologies.”
KBR is a global engineering, construction and services company supporting the energy, petrochemicals, government services and civil infrastructure sectors. The company offers a wide range of services through its Downstream, Government and Infrastructure, Services, Technology, Upstream and Ventures business segments. For more information, visit http://www.kbr.com. Contact:
Heather Browne, 713-753-3775
Director, Investor Relations
Rob Kukla, Jr., 713-753-5082
April 7, 2008 at 2:40 pm #6946
Enjoyed this news article on KBR Iso-ocetene conversion – wonder if these ex-MTBE units going to continue use new product as replacement octane additive instead of blending component? Perhaps more octane could be added than just the octane value of Iso-ocetene if it was used back in blending stages?
When lead was phased out of gasoline blending – a lot of synergies in blending gasoline were discovered and the olefinic gasoline components often produced higher octanes than were predicted (in much same way most reformer gasoline produced lower octanes than predicted) because of synergistic reactions with other components used in blends.
The Alky and Poly units in a refinery are perhaps the only ones that produce a volume yield increase instead of process loss – so taking the MTBE units and feedstock for increasing these units out of the refinery was huge mistake that occurred during the last cycle of Coker & FCC expansions to handle heavier crudes (and as result (Alky MBD /FCC+Coker MBD) ratio dropped significantly from mid 1990’s to early 2005 time frame).
My point for mentioning this is that it would make MTBE project conversions cost have higher margins if the units were integrated back into the refineries at time when they need to upgrade their alky / poly units, instead of being just suppliers for octane blending additive .
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