SOCAR wraps planned maintenance at Baku refinery

State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) has resumed operations following more than a month of scheduled maintenance at its Heydar Aliyev (formerly New Baku) refinery at Baku in Azerbaijan.

Part of SOCAR’s ongoing modernization and expansion program for Heydar Aliyev, the planned turnaround, which began in early August, included a series of routine maintenance and repair works as well as equipment installations and upgrades  at the refinery’s No. 21 primary processing unit, No. 31 catalytic reformer, No. 43 coker, and No. 55 catalytic cracker, SOCAR said.

All units taken offline during the maintenance period have been restarted, with the refinery resuming normal output as of Sept. 14, SOCAR said.

Due to be completed in stages through 2019-20, the Heydar Aliyev modernization and upgrading program will expand the refinery’s crude processing capacity to about 7.5 million tonnes/year 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 (OGJ Online, Mar. 16, 2016).

The refinery revamp follows the Jan. 1, 2015, 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).

SOCAR also has advanced its previously announced plan to add a 400,000-tpy grassroots bitumen plant as part of the Heydar Aliyev refinery overhaul (OGJ Online, Sept. 18, 2015).

In early August, Austria-based Porner Ingenieur GMBH began preliminary activities for construction of the bitumen plant, which will be the first unit under the refinery modernization program to be commissioned, SOCAR said.

The new bitumen plant is scheduled for startup in mid-2018, the company said.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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