Iraq lets technology contracts for Karbala refinery

Iraq’s State Co. for Oil Projects (SCOP) has let contracts to UOP LLC and Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), both divisions of Honeywell International Inc., to provide process technology and advanced automation controls for the country’s long-planned grassroots refinery under construction in southern Karbala province, about 120 km south of Baghdad (OGJ Online, Aug. 1, 2011).

UOP and HPS will deliver the Karbala refinery their respective proprietary suites of refining process technologies and automation controls systems, all of which are aimed at maximizing production of Euro 5-quality finished petroleum products to help meet Iraq’s rising domestic demand and reduce its current rate of refined product imports by more than 350,000 b/d, Honeywell said.

The process technology and plant automation packages will be integrated in order to boost the refinery’s output of gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, jet fuel, LPG, and asphalt, as well as to increase the efficiency of and reliability of operations, according to UOP and HPS.

While values of the contracts were not disclosed, Honeywell did confirm the refinery remains on schedule for startup in 2020 (OGJ Online, June 25, 2015).

This latest order for the Karbala refinery follows a series of contracts already awarded for the project, including the Iraqi government’s early 2014 award of a $6.04-billion engineering, procurement, and construction contract to a four-company consortium of South Korean companies led by Hyundai Engineering & Construction (OGJ Online, Apr. 8, 2015; Jan. 9, 2014).

The planned 140,000-b/d refinery, on which construction began in February 2014, will produce liquefied gas, gasoline, gas oil, fuel oil, jet fuel, and asphalt meeting international standards equivalent to European production to help meet growing domestic Iraqi demand (OGJ Online, Feb. 26, 2014).

UOP, HPS technology packages

Specifically, Honeywell has licensed the following UOP and HPS technologies for the Karbala refinery:

• UOP’s Penex process, which upgrades light naphtha into feedstock for production of isomerate, a cleaner gasoline blendstock free of benzene, aromatics, and olefins.

• UOP’s fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) process, to convert heavy feedstock recovered from other refinery operations into high-octane gasoline.

• UOP’s Continuous Catalyst Regeneration (CCR) Platforming process, which converts low-quality naphtha to high-octane blending components for gasoline.

• UOP’s Unionfining process, which improves the quality of distillate boiling-range feedstock in order to help meet increasingly more stringent product specifications.

• UOP’s Chlorsorb process, to help meet stringent waste gas specifications.

• HPS’s Experion Process Knowledge System, the core of the integrated control and safety systems, which enables integration of all process control and safety systems and automation software under a single architecture by linking refinery personnel with process, business requirements, and asset management.

• HPS’s Safety Manager, which integrates process safety data, applications, system diagnostics, and critical control strategies, and executes defined safety applications in a fully replicated, or redundant, architecture to ensure ongoing operations.

• HPS’s UniSim training simulators, to enable better planning, deploy, and management of a structured program for operator competency.

• HPS’s fire and gas safety systems, including SIL3 certified safety systems connected to fire detectors, fire alarm panels, fire suppression systems, gas detectors, sounders, and beacons, to help minimize impacts of any abnormal operational situation.

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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