Staatsolie wraps Suriname refinery expansion

State oil firm Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname NV has completed and fully commissioned a 10-year project to more than double crude oil processing capacity at its Tout Lui Faut refining complex about 12 miles south of Suriname’s capital city of Paramaribo (OGJ Online, Sept. 9, 2009).

Now equipped to process 15,000 b/d of Surinamese Saramacca crude compared with its previous 7,000-b/d processing capacity, the expanded refinery has reached production of more than 1 million bbl combined of premium diesel and gasoline, Staatsolie said.

The production milestone, which the Tout Lui Faut refinery achieved on Aug. 28, occurred over the course of the 8-month period since contractor Saipem SPA’s formal handover of the completed expansion project to Staatsolie’s management on Dec. 17, 2015, the company said.

Started in February 2012 and designed to help Suriname reduce its dependence on imported fuel products, the Tout Lui Faut expansion previously was due to be commissioned in October 2014 (OGJ Online, Apr. 11, 2014).

Estimated at a cost of $991 million as of December 2015, the expansion project has faced a series of hurdles since its initial commissioning, which began in mid-2014, Staatsolie told investors in its annual report for 2015, released in late July.

While a large portion of the expanded refinery reached startup and resumed output of its original production slate late during first-quarter 2015, mechanical completion of a plant designed to produce premium diesel and gasoline did not occur until July 2015, delayed in part by an Apr. 30, 2015, construction incident that left one contract employee dead.

The expanded facility’s steady production of gasoline and diesel, which was launched on the retail market in fourth-quarter 2015, again was hampered in December amid a series of power interruptions at the refinery as well as an isolated fire that broke out on Dec. 13 at a pipeline flange leading to the vacuum distillation unit (VDU), according to the company.

Following 10 days of scheduled maintenance in April to carry out work aimed at increasing reliability and stability of electricity supply to the refinery, production and exports of diesel and gasoline had steadied, with the company shipping its largest volume of diesel for export to SOL Energy Resources Inc. on May 11, Staatsolie said.

The 35,000-bbl export cargo of diesel to SOL followed a total of more than 100,000 bbl in diesel exports since December 2015 to mainly Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.

With preparations for performance testing of the refinery’s last two remaining modules—the gas and sulfuric acid plants—already under way by mid-May and scheduled for completion within the month, Staatsolie said at the time that it expected the expanded Tout Lui Faut refinery to become fully operational by late June.

Operations

During 2015, the Tout Lui Faut refinery processed 2.9 million bbl of Saramacca crude to produce 18,000 bbl of gasoline; 73,000 bbl of Staatsolie diesel; 71,000 bbl of diesel; 32,000 bbl of bitumen; and fuel oil.

The expanded refinery includes the following processing units: a VDU (U-160)., two visbreakers (U-200, U-260), a hydrocracker (U-300), a hydrogen plant (U-400), a naphtha splitter (U-500), a catalytic reformer (U-530), a sour-water stripper (U-600), an amine recovery plant (U-630), and a sulfuric acid plant (U-650).

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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