Jul. 17, 2017 – Honeywell announced today that Farabi Petrochemicals Company will use Honeywell UOP technologies for a new complex in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, to expand its production of biodegradable detergents.
As part of the contract, Honeywell UOP will provide catalysts and adsorbents as well as licensing, basic engineering design and other associated services for the new complex. Honeywell UOP technologies include a Unionfining hydrotreating unit, a Molex unit to produce the linear alkylbenzene (LAB) feedstock necessary for making biodegradable detergents, a Pacol unit for dehydrogenation, a DeFine unit to improve product purity, and a Detal detergent alkylation unit.
“Farabi chose Honeywell UOP technology because it is the most efficient and widely used technology in the world for making detergents,” said John Gugel, vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP’s Process Technology and Equipment business. “Our technologies will help the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia meet growing domestic and regional demand for petrochemicals and detergents, derive more value from its petroleum resources, and help it gain self-sufficiency in these chemical intermediates.”
The construction of the new complex is expected to be completed in 2020. When completed, it will produce more than 120,000 metric tons per year of LAB and 246,000 metric tons per year of normal paraffins, in addition to de-aromatized specialty oils, asphalt, sulfonates, mining chemicals, process oils and lubes. As a feedstock, the complex will use diesel from the Saudi Aramco refinery and kerosene from the Saudi Aramco ExxonMobil refinery in Yanbu.
According to the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), Saudi Arabia had 98.5 million tonnes per year of petrochemicals production capacity in 2016. It is the region’s second-largest industry within the manufacturing sector, creating more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs and $108 billion worth of products as recently as 2015.
The demand for normal paraffins as the feedstock for LAB continues to increase worldwide. Honeywell says the Molex process provides the most economical route to produce normal paraffins from kerosene and diesel, while also producing a by-product return stream of Jet A-1 quality jet fuel. The process operates in the liquid phase and simulates a moving adsorbent bed in a fixed-bed system using a proprietary multi-port rotary valve.
“The Yanbu facility demonstrates that refining companies in the Kingdom continue to move downstream into petrochemicals, where demand is growing and margins are stronger,” Gugel said. “The location of this new facility also will create more employment and industrial development in Western Saudi Arabia.”