SOCAR lets contract for units at Baku refinery

State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) has let a contract to Axens SA, Rueil-Malmaison, France, to build diesel fuel and gasoline hydrotreating units as part of the company’s ongoing modernization and expansion program at its Heydar Aliyev (formerly New Baku) refinery at Baku in Azerbaijan.

The companies signed a contract for the new units on Oct. 28 in Baku, SOCAR said.

Axens’ scope of work under the contract will include delivery of construction and technology licensing for the two hydrotreaters, according to Rovnag Abdullayev, SOCAR’s president.

A value of the contract was not disclosed.

In addition to the diesel fuel and gasoline hydrotreating units, the modernization program at Heydar Aliyev will involve construction of several other new units, including a bitumen plant, amine-treating units, and an LPG Merox unit, Abdullayev said at the contract-signing ceremony.

Most recently, SOCAR finalized a contract with Austria’s Porner Ingenieur GMBH to provide basic design works for the proposed 400,000-tonne/year grassroots bitumen plant, with Fluor Corp. to serve as contractor on the project (OGJ Online, Oct. 23, 2015; Sept. 18, 2015).

The new bitumen plant, which comes as part of the refinery’s reconstruction and modernization, is due to be commissioned in 2018.

Designed to be implemented in stages during 2015-19, the refinery’s modernization and upgrading program also includes plans to renovate the refinery’s primary crude processing, catalytic cracking, and catalytic reforming units.

Once completed, the Heydar Aliyev overhaul will increase the refinery’s crude processing capacity to about 7.5 million tpy from its current 6 million-tpy capacity, resulting in 100% production of fuels that meet Euro-5 quality standards as well as high-quality raw feedstock to be transported via pipeline to an associated ethylene and polyethylene plant operated by SOCAR subsidiary Azerikimya Production Union.

The revamp program follows the Jan. 1 shutdown and subsequent merger of processing activities at SOCAR’s Azerneftyag refinery with those of the nearby Heydar Aliyev refinery as part of the company’s plan to eliminate economically inefficient production activities and management structures associated with the operation of two separate refineries (OGJ Online, Dec. 29, 2014).

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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