Hydrogen plays a critical role in the oil and refining business, and is often described as the industry’s key enabler. It is fundamental to converting the crude oil of today into modern-day fuels and products, while also complying with ever-tightening environmental mandates.
Margins are ever-tighter in the highly competitive refinery business, a situation exacerbated by the costs of creating low sulfur fuels from heavier, more sour crude, as the world’s crude oil resources dwindle. The sulfur content of the world’s diminishing crude oil resources is higher than ever before as oil companies are forced to tap into this cheaper, but lower quality of crude.
The challenge is often made more complex by the fact that no two refineries are alike – and naturally occurring hydrocarbon distribution in crude does not always match customer demand. Various additional processing steps are required to ensure the refinery products meets end-user and product demand profiles, as well as environmental performance and, all the while, seeking to maximise the margins. This is where hydrogen is key, allowing refineries to comply with the latest product specifications and environmental requirements for fuel production, mainly through the hydrotreating of various refinery streams and hydrocracking of heavy products.
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