PRL commissions study for upgrade of Karachi refinery

Pakistan Refinery Ltd. (PRL) has let a contract to Amec Foster Wheeler (AFW) to conduct a detailed feasibility study for the upgrade and expansion of its 47,110-b/d hydroskimming refinery along the coastal belt of Karachi, Pakistan.

The study will investigate and propose ways the refinery can be upgraded to meet more-stringent product specifications in conformity with enhanced regulations, with a particular focus on upgrading technologies designed to minimize production of fuel oil as well as make cleaner and higher-quality products, AFW said.

The study also will examine ways in which the refinery could expand production capacity to meet Pakistan’s increased domestic demand for petroleum products and ensure the plant’s ongoing competitiveness in the future, the service provider said.

AFW, which began work on the project in January, disclosed neither a value nor duration of the contract.

Project details

PRL’s primary objective in undertaking the project is to ensure the refinery’s compliance with the government of Pakistan’s requirement for products that meet Euro 2 diesel specifications (i.e., 500 ppm sulfur), the company said in a description of the project posted to its web site.

The project additionally intends to position the refinery for sustained profitability by altering its production slate to increased output of higher-margin products, PRL said.

Specifically, the refinery revamp would include installation of a diesel hydrotreating plant as well as a thermal gas oil unit.

Front-end development of the project, which will occur in three stages, already is under way, as are other supporting activities, including a soil investigation, seismic hazard assessment, quantitative risk assessment, and environmental impact assessment, the company said.

In June 2015, PRL commissioned an isomerization plant equipped with Honeywell UOP LLC’s Penex process at Karachi, which has doubled the refinery’s output of high-octane gasoline to 24,000 tonnes/month (OGJ Online, Feb. 4, 2016; Mar. 18, 2014).

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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