Economic consequences of limiting benzene/aromatics in gasoline

21 Jul 1989

This report records the economic consequences to four different types of refineries in Europe if the benzene content of gasoline is required to be limited to 3% v01 or 1% vol. The consequences of also setting limits on aromatics content are also investigated. The study utilized refining planning computer models optimized by linear programming techniques.European gasoline currently contains on average 2.6% v01 benzene and 34% v01 aromatics. These levels would increase to 3,2% v01 and43% vol, respectively, if all gasoline were to be supplied as 95octane unleaded grade; depending on individual refinery configuration, the production would range from 2.3 to 5% v01benzene and 35 to 56% v01 aromatics, with the highest levels resulting from simple refineries (hydroskimming/thermal cracking)processing Brent-type crude oils. The levels also depend on the amount of oxygenates and isomerization capacity available.A restriction of benzene in gasoline to 3% v01 would mainly affect the simple refineries (still representing 40% of the number of refineries and 20% of the capacity in EC), which would need benezene extraction facilities, and isomerization capacity if not already installed. The investment for the refining sector in EC would be USD 1100 million^ The manufacturing cost increase would range from a minor increase for complex refineries (catcrackin & hydrocracking/coking) up to USD 10-12/ton gasoline for simple refineries.Further reduction of benzene below 3% v01 would need benzene extraction facilities also in complex refineries. A 1% v01 benzene limit would require an investment of IJSD 1750 million in EC. The manufacturing cost increase would go up to USD 8-12/ton for complex refineries and to USD 16-20/ton gasoline for simple refineries.About 2 million t/yr of benzene would have to be extracted and disposed of in a European market of 5 million t/yr, as a result of a 1% v01 benzene limit.The aromatic content of gasoline from simple refineries could only be reduced by some 5 percentage points through the additional use of oxygenates and isomerization, resulting in average aromatics levels still exceeding 40% vol. Further aromatics reduction in simple refineries would result in yield losses of up to half or more of the gasoline production Complex refineries could achieve aromatics levels generally in the range of 30 to 35% v01 through the wide use of oxygenates as well as additional isomerization.