Honeywell UOP catalyses downstream industry growth

Honeywell UOP is an innovator and enabler in the catalytic processing of hydrocarbons, having the widest offering of licensed technologies for the refining and petrochemical industries.

John Gugel, newly appointed president of Honeywell UOP.
John Gugel, newly appointed president of Honeywell UOP.

Honeywell UOP is an innovator and enabler in the catalytic processing of hydrocarbons, having the widest offering of licensed technologies for the refining and petrochemical industries.

Honeywell has recently announced the appointment of John Gugel as president of Honeywell UOP, a leading supplier of process technology, catalysts, engineered systems, and technical and engineering services to the global petroleum refining, petrochemical, chemical and gas processing industries.

With more than 25 years serving in numerous roles at Honeywell UOP, Gugel is an established leader in the oil and gas processing industries. He succeeds Rebecca Liebert, who had been president of Honeywell UOP since 2016. Gugel reports to Rajeev Gautam, president of Honeywell’s Performance Materials and Technologies division, and who also served as president of Honeywell UOP from 2009 to 2016.

Prior to his current role, Gugel served as vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP’s process technology and equipment business, and prior to that, held the same role as head of the gas processing and hydrogen business. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Creating core technologies for refining and petrochemical industry

UOP was founded in Chicago in 1914 to commercialise the first process technology for the mass production of gasoline. The company introduced catalysis to the refining industry in 1933, and it later created the core technologies for the modern petrochemicals industry.

Honeywell UOP led the development of cleaner-burning fuels, including unleaded gasoline, and the catalytic converter. It also developed linear alkyl benzene, which is the basis for biodegradable detergents. It also pioneered the development of technologies that produce diesel and jet fuel from renewable sources, and that processes natural gas so it can be safely transported and stored.

Honeywell UOP’s adsorbent technologies separate chemical compounds and are the primary technologies used to remediate contamination at sites such as the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. More recently, Honeywell UOP developed the technologies to convert coal into plastics, and use ionic liquids instead of acids to produce high-octane fuels. Today, 31 of the 36 refining technologies commonly in use around the world are developed by Honeywell UOP.

In 2016, Honeywell UOP introduced the first connected plant services that combine UOP’s proprietary process knowledge and fault models with Honeywell control’s experience to provide a software-based service that significantly improves the operation of refineries and petrochemical and gas plants.

Honeywell UOP has licensed more than 100 complexes and more than 700 individual process units for the production of aromatics, including more than 300 CCR Platforming process units, 158 Sulfolane units, 80 Isomar units, 58 Tatoray units, 100 Parex units and 60 Oleflex units, worldwide.

Based in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Illinois, Honeywell UOP has 29 offices and other facilities around the world and has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honeywell since 2005.

An innovator and enabler

Honeywell UOP is an innovator and enabler in the catalytic processing of hydrocarbons. The company has the widest offering of licensed technologies for the refining and petrochemicals manufacturing industry. Its core offerings are for the refineries, integrated with petrochemical complexes in many cases, and aromatics and propane dehydrogenation (PDH) units.

Honeywell UOP also has many natural gas processing technologies to remove contaminants including sulphur, water, carbon dioxide and mercury. The company’s technologies also facilitate recovery of natural gas liquids for use as fuels and valuable petrochemical feedstocks. In terms of introducing new technologies, Honeywell UOP has been very active recently. It unveiled the energy efficient Light Desorbent Parex process, which is the most efficient way to recover high-purity para-xylene from mixed C8 aromatics isomers. This process lowers capital and operating costs, and offers better energy intensity than other processes available today.

Honeywell UOP has been helping the downstream industry to achieve operational excellence for 11 decades. The company has typically done this in the historic service model in which it sends its service people to the customer sites. These service personnel evaluate the site to determine ways to improve uptime, reliability, and efficiency by the use of a new catalyst, or a process technology, or just by tuning the unit operations.

Recently, Honeywell UOP won several key projects in the Middle East region. It has won the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company project to facilitate the expansion of its refinery in Zarqa. The company will provide manager licensor services, technology licensing, FEED consultancy services, basic engineering design, catalysts, process equipment, training, and start-up services for the project.

Honeywell UOP has also won the Farabi Petrochemicals Company’s linear alkyl benzene project, which will use Honeywell UOP technologies for a new complex in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, to expand its production of biodegradable detergents. The company will provide catalysts and adsorbents as well as licensing, basic engineering design and other associated services for the new complex.

KIPIC to expand Al-Zour refinery with Honeywell UOP technology

In November 2017, Honeywell announced that Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC) will use a range of process technologies from Honeywell UOP for the expansion of its refining and petrochemical complex at Al-Zour, south of Kuwait City. KIPIC is a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation set up by State of Kuwait to manage refinery, petrochemicals and LNG import operations in the Al-Zour complex.

Honeywell UOP will supply technology licences, design services, key equipment, and state-of-the-art catalysts and adsorbents to produce clean-burning fuels, paraxylene, propylene and other petrochemicals.

“When completed, this will be the largest integrated refinery and petrochemicals plant ever constructed in Kuwait,” said Gugel. “In addition to aromatics and propylene, the Euro-V fuels it will produce will be the cornerstone of Kuwait’s clean fuels initiative.”

The project includes a 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) RFCC complex with ethylene and propylene recovery, and a 24,000bpd Honeywell UOP Selectfining unit to produce low-sulphur gasoline. Two Honeywell UOP Merox units will be used to treat propane for propylene production, and isobutane to make clean-fuels blending components, including MTBE produced by a UOP Ethermax unit. Also included is a Butamer unit to convert normal butane to isobutane.

The contract also includes a 66,000bpd CCR Platforming unit with a 74,000bpd naphtha hydrotreater to make gasoline blend stock, and an LD Parex aromatics complex – including the Honeywell UOP Sulfolane, Isomar and Tatoray processes – to make 1.4 million metric tonnes per year of paraxylene, a primary ingredient in plastics.

In addition, an Oleflex propane dehydrogenation unit will produce 660,000 metric tonnes per year of polymer-grade propylene – another basic component in the production of plastics, synthetic rubber and gasoline additives.

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