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ORPIC: Sohar refinery expansion due for commissioning

Oman Oil Refineries & Petroleum Industries Co. (ORPIC) has completed all construction and pre-commissioning works for the multibillion-dollar Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP), a long-planned, brownfield modernization program to technically enhance the operator’s existing 116,000-b/d refinery about 230 km northwest of Muscat.

The SRIP team achieved the major milestone on Feb. 22, reaching mechanical completion of the delayed coker, sulfur recovery units, utility and offsite units, as well as other unidentified brownfield works within the refinery, OPRIC announced via its official social media web sites.

With all mechanical construction and pre-commissioning works for SRIP wrapped, OPRIC is now ready to kick-start commissioning and startup activities for the modernized units, the company said.

While ORPIC previously confirmed SRIP was on schedule for planned startup sometime in late 2016-17, the operator did not reveal a revised, definitive timeline for when the expanded refinery will be fully commissioned (OGJ Online, Feb. 23, 2016).

Project overview

Designed primarily to improve the Sohar refinery’s ability to overcome existing technical constraints associated with processing the changing quality of Oman Export Blend (OEB) crude, SRIP also will enable the refinery to meet international environmental standards, serve growing domestic demand for refined products, and enhance the refinery’s competitiveness and profitability.

In addition to the revamp of an existing residue fluidized catalytic cracker, SRIP involved installation of five new units at the refinery, including an 82,000-b/d crude distillation unit, vacuum distillation unit, delayed coker, hydrocracker, and bitumen-blowing unit.

Upon reaching full commercial operation, the newly expanded Sohar refinery will be equipped to process 198,000 b/d of crude into more than 13 million tpy of finished products, ORPIC said.

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