The modern refining and petrochemical complex is evolving towards a single integrated facility to optimize total processing economics for converting crude petroleum to usable industrial products. In the forefront of this trend is the integration of unsaturate production and consumption units. Proper integration of refinery-olefin plant-polymer plant complex requires careful consideration of issues on a variety of levels. The macroscopic issues involved include process sequencing of the unsaturate producing units, consumption units, and recycling units. Detailed issues integrate the impact of impurity reduction, impurity sensitivity, product quality, flexibility to execute shutdown and maintenance of individual process units, and processing flexibility.
A prime area for attaining attractive returns in integrating the processing complex is in propylene production and use. Main propylene producers include the fluid catalytic cracking unit and a petrochemical plant steam cracker. Major consumers include poly gasoline units, polypropylene units, and refinery conversion units. Each of these units also produces a purge stream that may contain attractively recoverable quantities of propylene. Integrating recovery of the purge streams and purification of the production streams is the key to optimizing an integrated complex propylene balance.
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