Oman lets contract for Sohar refinery unit revamp

Oman Oil Refineries & Petroleum Industries Co. (Orpic), has let a contract to MAN Diesel & Turbo SE (MDT), Augsburg, Germany, for work related to the overhaul and revamp of the residue fluidized catalytic cracking (RFCC) unit at its 116,000-b/d Sohar refinery, about 230 km northwest of the Omani capital of Muscat (OGJ Online, Nov. 25, 2013; Mar. 4, 2011).

MDT will provide project management as well as supply parts and comprehensive engineering services for the complete shutdown and overhaul of Sohar’s RFCC plant during a planned maintenance turnaround of the refinery in spring 2016, the service provider said.

As part of the contract, MDT’s factory in Deggendorf, Germany, will manufacture a series of major components associated with the revamp during the next 10 months, including air grids, internal domes, and a new regenerator head, all of which will be shipped during October 2015 for arrival at Sohar in January 2016.

As project manager, MDT will provide about 100 specialists from its Deggendorf office during the shutdown to oversee and manage the RFCC’s revamp, which will be the largest overhaul of any existing RFCC unit to-date, according to MDT.

While a precise cost of the contract was not disclosed, MDT valued the order in the double-digit million euros.

This latest contract comes as part of Orpic’s Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP), a brownfield, multibillion dollar modernization project that includes major technical improvements to the existing refinery (OGJ Online, Apr. 1, 2015; May 1, 2014).

Designed to improve the plant’s ability to overcome existing technical constraints associated with processing the changing quality of Oman Export Blend (OEB) crude, SRIP also will enable the refinery to meet international environmental standards, serve growing domestic demand for refined products, and enhance the refinery’s competitiveness and profitability.

Last year, ORPIC said SRIP’s RFCC revamp aims to improve the unit’s feed quality to meet design parameters, meet the polymer-grade propylene demand of the polypropylene plant, maximize additional gasoline and diesel production, ensure that all fuel products from the refinery conform with Euro IV norms and meet current product specifications where these are better than Euro IV, produce naphtha for the aromatics plant, and equip the refinery to produce bitumen and petcoke (OGJ Online, July 18, 2014).

Detailed plans

According to a description of the project included in tender documents, Orpic decided to undertake the RFCC overhaul following a 2013 turnaround, during which the company discovered severe damage to the primary and secondary cyclones of Regenerator-1, as well as tremendous coke accumulation in the reactor plenum.

Additionally, the revamp is intended to equip the RFCC to process a heavier, more contaminated feedstock (compared with current feed) that will be fed to the unit beginning after the completed 2016 turnaround until completion of the entire SRIP project, Orpic said.

The scope of the RFCC revamp is to include the following elements, most of which are to be made in compliance with recommendations from Honeywell’s UOP LLC:

• Replacement of all 22 pairs of primary and secondary cyclones in Regenerator 1 with upgraded design.

• Replacement of the internal flue gas dome along with skirt and flue gas vent tubes (between Regenerators 1 and 2) with a new design from UOP.

• Modification of refractory specifications and first-stage air grid per recommendations by UOP.

• Modification of first-stage air grid and replacement of second-stage air grid due to downward deflection of air-grid arms.

• Replacement of regenerated catalyst standpipe expansion joints.

• Replacement of reactor vortex separation system (VSS) outlet slip joint with expansion bellows.

• Replacement of entire orifice chamber (V-2302).

• Renewal of VSS outlet pipe from dome to bottom of slip joint.

• Modifications to reactor plenum section.

• Modifications to reactor cyclone dip legs.

• Replacement of existing AF stripper baffle trays by UOP with UOP’s AF stripper packing, which will be designed, fabricated, and supplied by UOP.

In addition to the revamped RFCC, the SRIP will involve integrating five units at the refinery, including a hydrocracker and coker, which will boost crude throughputs 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.

Once completed, SRIP will eliminate fuel oil yields from the refinery entirely as well as increase the plant’s product yields for diesel (90%), gasoline (37%), jet fuel (93%), LPG (91%), naphtha (175%), and propylene (44%).

As of May, progress on SRIP’s EPC-related activities stood at 54.9%, construction at 27.3%, with overall progress on the project at 61.6%, Orpic said in an update posted to its web site.

SRIP is now scheduled to be completed during 2017, Orpic said.

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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