Suriname commissions newly expanded refinery

Suriname state oil firm Staatsolie has completed the long-planned major expansion and efficiency project to double crude processing capacity and expand fuel production at the Tout Lui Faut refining complex about 12 miles south of the country’s capital city of Paramaribo (OGJ Online, Sept. 9, 2009).

Fully commissioned during December 2015, the expansion has more than doubled the refinery’s crude capacity to 15,000 b/d from its previous 7,000 b/d to produce high-quality diesel and gasoline meeting the latest European quality standards, Staatsolie said.

Designed to reduce Suriname’s dependence on imported fuel products, the expansion took more than 10 years to complete from prefeasibility studies, which began in 2004, to its December 2015 startup (OGJ Online, Apr. 11, 2014; July 28, 2011).

Most recently scheduled for commissioning in October 2014 (OGJ Online, Jan. 21, 2014) and partially commissioned in December 2014, the project faced a series of delays resulting largely from higher construction costs, according to the company.

After briefly shutting down following a Dec. 13, 2015, fire at a pipeline flange that leads to a vacuum distillation unit (VDU), the refinery resumed operations on Dec. 15 and now processes 15,000 b/d of Suriname’s low-sulfur, low-metals Saramacca crude to produce the following:

• Ultralow-sulfur diesel, 8,000 b/d.

• Ultralow-sulfur gasoline, 2,500 b/d.

• Fuel oil, 6,000 b/d.

• Bitumen, 100 b/d.

• Sulfuric acid, 100 b/d.

While Staatsolie’s expanded ULSD production will be enough to satisfy Suriname’s entire local demand, increased gasoline production from the refinery still falls short of fulfilling demand on the regional market, the company said.

Despite the shortfall in gasoline supply, Staatsolie said the refinery’s overall expanded fuel production will reduce Suriname’s need for foreign fuel imports by about $100 million/year.

According to a July 2008 environmental impact assessment for the project, the expansion was to include the following additions:

• A VDU.

• A visbreaker unit.

• A hydrocracking unit.

• A hydrogen production unit (including a pressure-swing adsorption unit).

• A catalytic reforming unit (including a new naphtha splitter).

• A light naphtha isomerization unit.

• A sulfuric acid unit.

• New and revamped utilities for newly added units.

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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