The future of downstream industry is definitely in the direction of integration of refineries to petrochemical plants.
Refining and petrochemical integration allows for significant petrochemical contribution to the refinery yield and can improve the overall process economics for both the component refinery and petrochemical facility. That is why assessing the overall economic benefit is important in the planning stages of any such project.
In an optimised situation, both facilities operate to maximise profitability, making use of by-product streams from the adjacent facility to their individual and, eventually, overall economic benefit. Closer refinery and petrochemical integration allows for stream transfers to be established in both directions for mutual commercial and operational benefit.
The future of the downstream industry will be all refineries getting integrated with petrochemical complexes.
Check out the following video for the comments of Valentin Kotlomin, director of strategic studies and downstream economics, Euro Petroleum Consultants, about the refining-petrochemical integration.