Egyptian refiner lets contract for new processing complex

Assiut Petroleum Refining Co. (ASORC), a subsidiary of Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (EGPC), has let a contract to Axens to supply technology for a grassroots naphtha processing complex to be built at its 4.5 million-tonne/year refinery in Asyut, Egypt, about 400 km south of Cairo.

Axens will provide a series of processing technologies for the complex, which will process a total of 660,000 tpy of naphtha to produce high-octane gasoline for domestic Egyptian markets, Axens said.

In addition to the supply of catalysts, adsorbents, equipment, and technical support, Axens’s scope of work includes delivery of the following:

• A naphtha hydrotreater.

• A continuous catalytic reformer (CCR), which will use Axens’ proprietary Octanizing technology.

• A pentane-hexane isomerization unit with a de-isohexanizer recycle unit.

While a value of the contract was not disclosed, the proposed complex has required an investment of $250 million, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum (MOP).

The naphtha processing complex comes as part of ASORC’s plans to expand and modernize the refinery (OGJ Online, Sept. 3, 2014).

Last year, MOP and EGPC announced ASORC had secured $198 million to finance construction of a 1.4 million-tpy diesel hydrocracking complex to convert lower-quality heavy fuels into high-quality petroleum products such as LPG, naphtha, kerosine, and gasoline.

According to a March release from MOP, the new hydrocracking complex would have production capacities as follows:

• Gas oil: 959,000 tpy.

• Jet fuel: 438,000 tpy.

• Naphtha: 644,000 tpy.

The project, which will require a total investment of $2.1 billion, also is designed to help meet Egypt’s growing demand for petroleum products, MOP said.

While MOP previously said the diesel hydrocracking complex was due to be operational as early as 2016-17, revised timetables for the proposed hydrocracking and naphtha processing complexes at Asyut have yet to be released.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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