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Extraction separation of metals and sulfur from petroleum feedstocks

Technology of extraction of metals (demetallization) and sulfur from petroleum raw materials

For PJSC Tatneft the basics of extraction technology of the purification of petroleum raw materials from metals and sulfur, which are the catalytic poisons of oil refining processes, by using a cascade of centrifugal extractors has been developed. The technology allowed extracting 20% of vanadium, nickel and sulfur from the Tatarstan oils.

Issues to solve:

 - Reduction of capital and operating costs for cleaning heavy oil and heavy oil residues in comparison with existing purification processes.

- Production of refined petroleum feedstock for higher value added products (for example, needle coke).

- Obtaining a new product of oil refining (a concentrate of metals  - raw materials for the metallurgical industry).

High-tech and economical technology

Design features:

  • Centrifugal extractors - simple and low-cost equipment
  • Catalyst, high pressure and temperature are not used
  • Residue is aqueous eluate with metals and sulfur
  • Does not require the introduction of hydrogen into the system



  • Reducing capital costs by 50%
  • Reducing operating costs by 50%
  • Increase the running life of the refinery before preventive stops by 50%
  • No change in the hydrocarbon composition
  • Wasteless technology. Residue is raw materials for the production of metals


Competitive advantages of the developed technology:

  • Reducing the costs of deep cleaning of oil from catalytic poisons.
  • The possibility of upgrading vacuum gas oils to produce raw materials for the production of needle coke.
  • Ability to apply the technology of oil purification at the stages of oil production and processing.
  • Obtaining as new oil refining product (by-product) another raw material for the production of metals highly demanded in the market.
  • Improvement of the ecological situation in the oil processing areas.


Oil purification is carried out by extraction of metals and sulfur into aqueous solutions in a cascade of centrifugal extractors


Economic efficiency

Project Performance Indicators


  • Desulfurization and demetallization of heavy oil fractions. Due to the depletion of light oil, the refinery has to process heavy oil. As a result about 20% of heavy oil fractions are formed, which contain a large amount of metals and sulfur, and do not go for processing (they are waste products). The use of extraction technologies for the recovery of sulfur and metals from heavy oil fractions will allow them to be involved in deep oil processing and increase the income of the refinery. The economic effect of processing 15 million tons of oil will be about 6 million $ / year.


  • Increased catalyst life of various refinery processes. The current consumption of catalysts of refining processes in Russia is about 28 thousand tons per year. Every year, the consumption of catalysts increases due to the processing of heavier feedstocks, which contains a large number of elements that are catalytic poisons, quickly decontaminating the costly catalysts of oil refining. The use of the process of demetallization of oil will lead to an increase in the life of the catalyst by reducing the level of catalytic poisons, which will save oil refineries over $ 160 million annually.


  • Production of high added value products. Traditional raw materials for the production of needle coke are low-sulfur distillate residues of thermal cracking, catalytic cracking gas oils, oil production extracts, heavy hydrocarbon pyrolysis tar. In Russia, the refinery does not obtain raw materials for the production of needle coke, since raw materials containing less than one percent sulfur and metals are limited by technological capabilities for cleaning raw materials. The use of demethallization techniques for heavy oil fractions will make it possible to produce needle coke at domestic enterprises.


Extraction of metals from oil and heavy oil fractions. The by-product of the technology will be the aqueous metal eluates (vanadium, nickel, REE, platinum and rare) extracted from oil and being the raw material for metallurgical products. For example, with the separation of metals from the Volga-Ural oil refinery will receive a profit of $ 670,079 thousand per year.

Petroleum Studies and Research Centre

Research and development 

42с1 Bol'shoy bul'var, Skolkovo Innovation Centre, Mozhajskij region, Moscow, 143026