NIORDC: Domestic Catalyst Production Expected by March

NIORDC: Domestic Catalyst Production Expected by MarchNIORDC: Domestic Catalyst Production Expected by March

In the face of sanctions imposed on Iran’s energy sector, the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) has signed a contract with a domestic producer for providing the catalyst for gasoline production process.

The reforming catalyst will be produced by Iranians for the first time, to jump-start the implementation of the long-delayed gasoline production unit of Isfahan Refinery, Mehr news agency reported.

US-led sanctions have impeded import of the much-needed catalyst from the sole producer of the product, UOP LLC, and subsequently UOP has suspended sales of the catalyst to Iranian refineries.

UOP LLC, formerly known as Universal Oil Products, is a multi-national company developing and delivering technology to the petroleum refining, gas processing, petrochemical production, and major manufacturing industries.

With commercial production of the isomerization catalyst by yearend, Isfahan Refinery’s gasoline production unit, with a daily production capacity of more than 3 million liters of Euro-4 Standard gasoline, will ultimately go on stream in March.

Even though construction, installation and pre-commissioning stages were completed a year ago, the project was rendered inoperative due to the lack of catalyst. The catalyst will be produced on a pilot basis, said Abbas Kazemi, deputy oil minister and NIORDC managing director.

Isomerization unit converts linear molecules to higher-octane branched molecules for blending into gasoline or feed to alkylation units. The octane rating or octane number is a standard measure of the performance of an engine or aviation fuel. The higher the octane number, the more compression the fuel can withstand before detonating (igniting).

Increasing the octane number to 98 is one the objectives of the new project, which will dispense the refinery from import of octane boosters. Gasoline production unit of Isfahan Refinery consists of three processing units, namely hydrodesulfurization, catalyst reforming, and isomerization.

Catalytic reforming is a chemical process used to convert petroleum refinery naphthas distilled from crude oil (typically having low octane ratings) into high-octane liquid products called reformates, which are premium blending stocks for high-octane gasoline.

  Air Pollution

Iran plans to turn to high-quality and standardized gasoline to reduce air pollution across the country.

The air in many cities is amongst the most polluted in the world.

Motor vehicles account for 70 percent of pollution in Tehran. Low quality gasoline and diesel are partly responsible for the problem. Several meetings have been held between officials of the Department of Environment (DoE) and the oil ministry in this regard.

An average of 70 million liters per day of gasoline and 18 million cubic meters per day of CNG WAS distributed over the first nine months of the current Iranian year (March 21-December 22, 2014).

Iran was set to become self-reliant in gasoline production and start exports by the summer, but things have not gone according to plan due to a delay in construction of several refineries.

The US imposed an array of sanctions on Iran to curb the country’s nuclear program, but Iran insists that its program is peaceful. Iran and P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany) are negotiating to reach an agreement.