Lube Extraction Process by Bechtel

Application: Bechtel’s MP Refining process is a solvent-extraction process that uses N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) as the solvent to selectively remove the undesirable components of low-quality lubrication oil, which are naturally present in crude oil distillate and residual stocks. The unit produces paraffinic or naphthenic raffinates suitable for further processing into lube-base stocks. This process selectively removes aromatics and compounds containing heteroatoms (e.g., oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur).

Products: A raffinate that may be dewaxed to produce a high-quality lube-base oil, characterized by high viscosity index, good thermal and oxidation stability, light color and excellent additive response. The byproduct extracts, being high in aromatic content, can be used, in some cases, for carbon black feedstocks, rubber extender oils and other nonlube applications where this feature is desirable.

Description: The distillate or residual feedstock and solvent are contacted in the extraction tower (1) at controlled temperatures and flowrates required for optimum countercurrent, liquid-liquid extraction of the feedstock. The extract stream, containing the bulk of the solvent, exits the bottom of the extraction tower. It is routed to a recovery section to remove solvent contained in this stream. Solvent is separated from the extract oil by multiple-effect evaporation (2) at various pressures, followed by vacuum flashing and steam stripping (3) under vacuum. The raffinate stream exits the overhead of the extraction tower and is routed to a recovery section to remove the NMP solvent contained in this stream by flashing and steam stripping (4) under vacuum.

Overhead vapors from the steam strippers are condensed and combined with solvent condensate from the recovery sections and are distilled at low pressure to remove water from the solvent (5). Solvent is recovered in a single tower because NMP does not form an azeotrope with water, as does furfural. The water is drained to the oily-water sewer. The solvent is cooled and recycled to the extraction section.

Licensor: Bechtel Corp.