Algeria lets contracts for refining, petrochemical units

State-owned Sonatrach SPA has let a contract to Tecnicas Reunidas SA, Madrid, to deliver engineering and project management consultancy (PMC) services for two grassroots units to be built at the 16.5-million tonne/year refinery in Skikda.

As part of the contract, Tecnicas Reunidas will provide basic engineering and PMC for a 4.6-million tpy gas oil hydrocracker and a 4-million tpy catalytic reformer, the latter of which will be used to process surplus naphtha at the site, Sonatrach and the Algerian government said in separate releases.

Scheduled for completion in 2019, the two units will boost the Skikda refinery’s production of Euro 5-quality diesel and gasoline by 3.2 million tpy and 3.5 million tpy, respectively, according to Sonatrach.

The government of Algeria valued the overall contract value at €15.5 million (€5.59 million, basic engineering; €9.91 million, PMC).

The proposed units at Skikda come as part of Sonatrach’s broader goal to independently meet Algeria’s fuel demand and to generate surplus production for exports, said Amine Mazouzi, Sonatrach’s chief executive.

The state-run company separately has let a €5.17-million, 18-month contract to the French division of Amec Foster Wheeler PLC, London, to provide preliminary engineering works for construction of a 200,000-tpy methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) plant at Arzew.

Designed to treat 75,000-tpy of methanol from Sonatrach’s Arzew CP1Z methanol and derivatives complex as well as 150,000-tpy of butane from its Arzew GP1Z LPG separation complex, the MTBE installation would help to improve octane quality of fuels produced at the company’s refineries, the state operator said.

Broader plans

Alongside the new Skikda units and MTBE plant, Sonatrach’s previously announced plans for three 5-million tpy greenfield refineries to be located at Biskra, Tiaret, and Hassi Messaoud, all of which are to play a role in ensuring coverage of Algeria’s domestic market needs by 2040 (OGJ Online, Mar. 8, 2016), according to Mazouzi.

Sonatrach also has launched a project to restore production of an ethylene unit to 120,000-tpy at its Skikda petrochemical complex and will sign a contract sometime in January for construction of a grassroots 100,000-tpy benzene linear alkyl complex at one of its production sites, according to the Algerian government.

The state-owned firm additionally is in discussions with unidentified technology partners on licensing for several other major grassroots petrochemical projects, including a 1-million tpy ethylene cracker, a 600,000-tpy propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene complex, and 1-million tpy methanol and derivatives complex, Mazouzi said on Dec. 7.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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