Serbia’s NIS wraps major refinery turnaround

Serbia’s Naftna Industrija Srbije (NIS) JSC Novi Sad has completed a major turnaround as part of an ongoing modernization program to improve energy efficiency, boost production of higher-quality products, and ensure operational reliability at its 4.8 million-tonne/year refinery at Pancevo.

Concluded in September, the month-long, €7-million turnaround involved planned maintenance and upgrading projects at nearly all of the refinery’s primary and secondary processing units, NIS said.

Alongside projects at the crude atmospheric and vacuum distillation and hydrogen units, the turnaround included the first capital maintenance at the refinery’s mild hydrocracking and distillate hydrotreating complex (MHC-DHT) since its startup in November 2012 (OGJ Online, Aug. 25, 2014).

Intended to enable increased output of Euro 5-diesel from the MHC-DHT, planned maintenance at the hydrocracking and hydrotreating complex included a catalyst replacement in the MHC reactor to further increase production of middle distillates, the operator said.

The revamp of MHC-DHT also was to include the start of construction work on NIS’s bottom-of-the-barrel (BOTB) project, a new phase of the refinery’s modernization, the company said in the latest issue of its Energize corporate magazine.

Specific construction activity was to involve relocating an existing flare pipeline to clear the area for building the new BOTB project, which is to include a delayed coking unit that will be integrated with the refinery’s fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) and hydrocracker (OGJ Online, Mar. 16, 2015).

Other work executed during the maintenance period entailed projects to modernize and improve reliability of power supply to the refinery, as well as installation of a new Packinox heat exchanger at the platforming unit (S-300) to help increase the manufacturing site overall efficient use of energy, NIS said.

As a result of NIS’s plan to increase the refinery’s production rates ahead of the turnaround and ensure sufficient availability of product supplies from storage, customer supply commitments were not interrupted during the maintenance period, according to the operator

Ongoing modernization

The latest turnaround at Pancevo follows a series of other routine maintenance projects executed at the refinery during this year’s first 9 months, including turnarounds of the bitumen production unit, the small atmospheric distillation unit (S-100), and the kerosene Merox unit (S-750/850), NIS said in its quarterly earnings report on Nov. 1.

NIS also continued to progress with development of the BOTB project, which involved the following:

• Finalizing the extended-base, front-end engineering design for the delayed coker.

• Finalizing the tender of invitation to bids on engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) services for BOTB’s new auxiliary units (amine regeneration, acid water stripper with a unit for removal of phenol).

• Awarding the contract for EPCM services for construction of BOTB’s delayed coking unit.

• Awarding contracts for equipment procurement on long-lead items.

NIS did not disclose further details regarding already-awarded BOTB contracts, however.

Alongside completing a gasoline in-line blending project at the refinery earlier in the year, the company said it also implemented plans to optimize and expand Pancevo’s basket of raw feedstock to include processing of Iraqi Kirkuk and Nigerian Forcados crudes.

Jointly owned by JSC Gazprom Neft, 56.15%; the Republic of Serbia, 29.87%; as well as current and former employees, citizens, and other minor shareholders, 13.98%, NIS also operates the 2.5 million-tpy Novi Sad refinery, which currently remains offline.

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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