ORPIC completes installation of Oman’s first hydrocracker

Oman Oil Refineries & Petroleum Industries Co. (ORPIC) has completed installation of a hydrocracker as part of the company’s long-planned Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP), a multibillion dollar modernization program that includes major technical improvements to the existing 116,000-b/d refinery about 230 km northwest of the Omani capital of Muscat (OGJ Online, May 1, 2014; Mar. 4, 2011).

After 2 months of extensive preparatory works, the hydrocracker, which stands 42 m and weighs about 950 tonnes, was installed at the Sohar refinery in a single day, ORPIC said.

Design of the two-stage hydrocracking unit, which be operated at a pressure of 160 bar and temperature of 400° C., also includes built-in features that will enable a quick response to a variety of potential emergency situations, the company said.

An integral element of SRIP as well as Oman’s first hydrocracker, the unit will equip the refinery both to increase its production of distillates that meet Euro V fuel quality specifications and to better meet Oman’s rising demand for petroleum products, ORPIC said.

In addition to aiding improved refining margins at Sohar, the hydrocracker also will contribute to reduced emissions from the refinery.

Specialized training of Sohar refinery employees in operation of the hydrocracking unit by its technology licensor currently is under way, ORPIC said.

OPRIC, through a contractor, previously let a contract to CB&I, Houston and its 50-50 joint venture with Chevron Corp., Chevron Lummus Global, to provide technology for the hydrocracker (OGJ Online, July 18, 2014).

A brownfield project, SRIP is designed to improve the plant’s ability to overcome existing technical constraints associated with processing the changing quality of Oman Export Blend (OEB) crude, meet international environmental standards, serve growing domestic demand for refined products, and enhance the refinery’s competitiveness and profitability (OGJ Online, Mar. 31, 2014; Nov. 25, 2013).

In addition to the hydrocracker, SRIP will involve the addition of four other units, including a coker, as well as the revamp of the refinery’s residue fluidized catalytic cracker unit as a means to improve the plant’s quality and quantity of gasoline, diesel, naphtha, and propylene production.

SRIP, once completed, will boost crude throughputs at Sohar by 70% by adding 82,000 b/d of OEB crude oil processing capacity to achieve an expanded refining capacity of 198,000 b/d, ORPIC said.

As of June 30, the project remains on schedule, with overall project progress reaching 61.6, ORPIC said.

SRIP is due to be commissioned in 2016-17.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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