Process Economics Program Report 107
Economics of Chemical Refineries
Published: February 1977
A chemical refinery is a special kind of oil refinery that is designed specifically to manufacture olefins and aromatics from crude oil. The two significant deviations from the conventional petroleum refinery are that the chemical refinery as defined in this report must include, as an integral part, an olefins complex for the pyrolysis of petroleum fractions and it must not manufacture motor gasolines.
This report considers the economics of chemical refineries for the U.S. Gulf Coast, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and the Chiba-Yokohama area in Japan. We have not included technical evaluations of processes or techniques. Only tried and proven, off-the-shelf processes that are now in use on a broad scale are considered.
The object of this study is to present the economics of the chemical refinery concept and to compare it with other options open to chemical companies for the acquisition of their basic feedstocks. In each case presented in the study, the process yields and equipment sizes are optimized, commensurate with the character of the feedstock and the imposed market restraints, to maximize return on total capital. A linear program model was used in this optimization.
In the preparation of this report many more cases were considered than are described here. This accounts for the missing numbers in certain series of cases. The individual cases are defined later in the report. The letters G, U, and J used in identifying the cases stand for the U.S. Gulf Coast, Europe (the letter E was already taken), and Japan. The letter P stands for pyrolysis in the cases concerning freestanding olefins plants.