The Refining Process at Petrojam

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The refinery in Kingston Jamaica has a hydroskimming configuration – equipped with a main Atmospheric Pipe still, a naphtha reforming unit and necessary treating processes for other key products. This refinery was designed to operate with a high level of heat integration with process streams at high temperatures providing heat to lower temperature streams leading to inherent energy efficiencies. All products are line blended into finished product storage.

Crude Oil Processing

Crude oil is purchased from a variety of suppliers under different trade and bilateral agreements, as the refinery ensures diversified sources for energy security and to take advantage of lower cost crudes. Depending on the properties of the crude oil being processed, the refinery typically operates between 28,000 – 32,000 barrels per day.

The Crude oil is pre-treated and processed through a single-stage Atmospheric Pipe-still (APS) – a fractional distillation column. Fractional distillation uses the difference in boiling point to separate the hydrocarbons in crude oil into different cuts/streams. The APS produces an overhead naphtha cut, kerosene and gas oil side stream cuts and a bottoms stream (See Figure 1).

Naphtha Processing

The naphtha cut is treated in the Naphtha Hydrofiner Unit where catalytic reaction processes utilizing hydrogen and elevated pressure and temperature are employed to remove impurities. 

The Light Ends Fractionation Unit further separates the naphtha cut via several distillation columns into liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) – propane and butane, fuel gas for internal use.

Further separation is achieved in the Naphtha Splitter Unit into light, middle and heavy virgin naphtha streams (LVN, MVN and HVN).  

In the semi-regenerative Reformer Unit the middle virgin straight-run naphtha is upgraded by catalytically promoting specific groups of chemical reactions to change the molecular structure of the constituents, increasing the octane number and producing grades of motor gasoline.

Side stream Processing

The kerosene side stream is treated in the Kerosene Hydrofiner Unit to ensure sulphur and other quality specifications for the dual purpose of kerosene and jet fuel.

The gasoil side stream is introduced to a similar Gas Oil Hydrofiner Unit, which alternately produces Automotive Diesel Oil (ADO) or Marine Gas Oil (MGO) grades.

Atmospheric Pipestill Bottom Stream Processing

Atmospheric Pipestill bottom is blended with gas oil, kerosene or heavy virgin naphtha to produce a range of Heavy Fuel Oil grades.

A portion of this stream is also distilled in the Vacuum Pipestill Unit to produce grades of asphalt to meet local and overseas market quality specifications.


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