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Improved hydrocracking

leading-edge Catalysts coupled with outstanding Technical service. Criterion Catalysts & Technologies (Criterion) offers a broad range of zeolite catalysts to satisfy a variety of refinery hydrocracking objectives. We also provide the feed pretreatment catalysts that are vital to preserving the function of the main cracking catalysts.

Hydrocracking is replacing fluidised catalytic cracking as the refinery conversion process of choice. The reasons are simple: the shift from gasoline to diesel in many parts of the world; the flexibility of the hydrocracking process, which makes it relatively easy to alter the product slate to meet changing market demands; the ability of the process to make high-quality transport fuels, particularly ultra-low-sulphur diesel, directly from difficult-to-process feeds; and, finally, the ease with which hydrocrackers can be integrated with ethylene crackers in the petrochemicals sector.

The performance of hydrocracking units is fundamentally dependent on the zeolite catalyst used to break down the heavier oil molecules. However, as feed quality generally declines, it is becoming increasingly common to find units whose performance, notably run length, is limited by the decline in activity of the feed pretreatment catalyst, the role of which is to protect the zeolite from harmful sulphur and nitrogen compounds and trace metals.

We work closely with refiners to select the most appropriate hydrocracking and pretreatment catalysts to meet their individual process needs.

This involves a detailed analysis in which reference will be made to feedstock quality; the desired product slate; the design of the hydrocracker and its normal operating regime; the amount of hydrogen available; and the target cycle length. Process modelling and pilot plant trials are part of the toolbox used to pinpoint the best catalysts for individual hydrocrackers and also to develop the most effective unit operating strategy.

Criterion customers benefit from the support of knowledgeable and experienced technical service engineers at every stage of the process cycle.

The technical support available to customers goes beyond advising on the selection of suitable catalysts. We routinely provide consultation during catalyst activation and, thereafter, we help customers with information as they seek to optimise the performance of their hydrocrackers. Using our Cat-Check knowledge management system, we can help them to build a clear picture of the way the unit is performing as the process cycle  develops. This helps to customers to optimise operating conditions to best effect, understand process anomalies and troubleshoot any process problems quickly and efficiently. We are always looking for ways to provide information that will help to increase a unit’s profit margin.

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Dual-service hydrocracking

High-quality middle distillate products from partial conversion of heavy oil fractions and difficult feedstocks.Hydrocracking is an established and reliable method for transforming low-value heavy oil fractions into products with a higher value. Shell Global Solutions’ dual-service hydrocracking ...


Advanced process and catalyst systems to help optimize unit performance and maximize cycle length
Hydrotreating is an established refinery process for reducing sulphur, nitrogen and aromatics while enhancing cetane number, density and smoke point. Shell Global Solutions’ hydrotreating process ...

Reactor Internals

State-of-the-art hardware to help optimize catalyst utilization, maximize cycle length and increase process safety.
The performance of hydroprocessing reactors is determined not only by the catalyst loaded but also by the design of their internals. Shell Global Solutions’ internals technology ...

Shell sulphur technology platform

Consultancy and technologies to help take control of the sulphur paradox.
The reduced availability of light and sweet crudes, and the consequential increase in the cost of such feedstocks, makes it more and more attractive for refiners to take in heavier and sourer feeds. However, there are consequences. ...

Gas/liquid treating and sulphur processes

Helping oil and gas operators meet emission limits. Operators in the oil and gas industries face tough challenges in removing contaminants from their products, reducing emissions and meeting specifications. Shell Global Solutions’ gas/liquid treating and sulphur processes are available for license ...

FCC – leading-edge technology for enhanced reliability and environmental performance

Refiners are under immense pressure to improve the performance of their fluidised catalytic cracking (FCC) units. At the same time, there are changing market demands and environmental issues to consider. Shell Global Solutions helps by selecting technology from an extensive line-up to devise process ...

Distillation and separation technologies

Improve performance and minimize expenditure. Refinery operators want to improve their distillation performance to optimise their assets, minimise their expenditure and capital investment, and debottleneck their operations. Through the licensing of bulk crude distillation units, high-vacuum units, work-up ...

Dewaxing technologies for distillate applications

Cold flow properties improvement process. Catalytic dewaxing is used to improve cold flow properties of diesel fuels by selective hydroisomerization and hydrocracking of normal and slightly branched-paraffins. Normal paraffins have the most detrimental effects on the low-temperature properties of diesel ...

Thermal conversion – converting the bottom of the barrel into higher-value products

Faced with falling demand for low-value products such as residue fuel oil, operators are seeking proven, cost-effective technologies to help increase the value of their residue streams by revamping and debottlenecking existing units. Shell Global Solutions’ thermal conversion processes enable refiners ...

Refining catalysts – market-leading, high performance hydroprocessing solutions

Increasingly stringent fuel and environmental regulations, heavier crudes and feedstocks, and soaring energy demand have created complex, and sometimes conflicting, challenges for refiners operating hydroprocessing units. In response, many refiners are building new licensed units or revamping their existing ...