SOCAR lets licensing contract for Baku refinery revamp

State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) has let a contract to UOP LLC, a subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., to provide technology and licensing for new installations to be built as part of the company’s ongoing modernization and expansion program at its Heydar Aliyev (formerly New Baku) refinery at Baku in Azerbaijan.

UOP’s scope of work under the contract, signed on Nov. 3 in Baku, will include delivery of technology and licensing for a naphtha hydrotreater, catalytic cracker, isomerization units, amine-treating units, an LPG Merox unit, an MTBE unit, as well as units for sulfur removal, SOCAR said.

UOP, which licensed the refinery’s existing catalytic reforming unit and is implementing work related to STAR Rafineri AS’s planned 214,000-b/d SOCAR Turkey Aegean Refinery (Star) in Aliaga, Turkey (OGJ Online, Dec. 16, 2014), previously executed the feasibility study for the Heydar Aliyev revamp, the state-owned operator added.

A value of the contract was not disclosed.

Most recently, SOCAR let contracts related to the refinery modernization project to Axens SA, Rueil-Malmaison, France, for construction and technology licensing of diesel fuel and gasoline hydrotreating units (OGJ Online, Oct. 28, 2015), and to Austria’s Porner Ingenieur GMBH for basic design works for a proposed 400,000-tonne/year grassroots bitumen plant at the refinery (OGJ Online, Oct. 23, 2015; Sept. 18, 2015).

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 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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