December 2016

HP Top Project Awards

HP Top Project Awards

Details on high-impact refining and petrochemical projects presently under construction, as chosen by HP editors and readers.

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

The global hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) continues to expand and modernize to efficiently meet growing demand for energy, transportation fuels and petrochemicals. At present, Hydrocarbon Processing’s Construction Boxscore Database is tracking more than $1.6 T in active projects around the world. These investments include projects that have been announced or are in the planning, engineering or construction phases.

The editors of Hydrocarbon Processing have identified nine projects that are anticipated to heavily impact the global and/or regional downstream industry. All of the nominees—for which detailed project information is available from Hydrocarbon Processing’s Construction Boxscore Database—will contribute significantly to the HPI, whether through contributing capital expenditure (CAPEX), satisfying domestic or adding to regional demand, diversifying product offerings, or stimulating a resurgence in refining and/or petrochemical processing capacity.

These nine projects represent more than $60 B in total CAPEX. The winners of this prestigious award (pictured above) over the last two years include:

  • Refining:
    • 2014—Saudi Aramco and Total Refining and Petrochemical Co.’s (SATORP’s) Jubail Refinery
    • 2015—SOCAR’s Turkey Aegean Refinery (STAR)
  • Petrochemicals:
    • 2014—Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical’s SADARA Petrochemical Complex
    • 2015—Sasol’s Ethane Cracker and Derivatives Complex.

This year’s refining nominees represent nearly 800 Mbpd of new refining capacity by the end of the decade. All of these projects are located in non-OECD countries and represent a total capital investment of nearly $40 B. The four petrochemical nominees span four different regions, have a total cost of more than $23 B and represent more than 10 MMtpy of additional petrochemical production by 2020.

Over the past two months, thousands of Hydrocarbon Processing readers voted online to select the top refining and petrochemical projects of 2016. The following sections present the results of the readers’ poll and details of the Top Project winners and nominees’ projects.



KNPC Clean Fuels Project, Kuwait

The $17-B Clean Fuels Project (CFP) is designed to upgrade and integrate the Mina Abdullah and Mina Al-Ahmadi refineries. The Mina Al-Ahmadi plant’s capacity will decrease to 346 Mbpd, and the Mina Abdullah refinery’s capacity will increase to 454 Mbpd. The newly integrated refineries will act as a single merchant refinery, boosting domestic capacity from 736 Mbpd to 800 Mbpd.

With the addition of the 615-Mbpd Al-Zour refinery, Kuwait’s domestic refining capacity will surpass 1.4 MMbpd by the end of the decade. After the refineries are integrated, KNPC will shut down its 200-Mbpd Shuaiba facility, as a revamp of the plant has been deemed uneconomical.

The CFP’s objectives include:

  • Meet 2020 market demand and specifications for low-sulfur transport fuels
  • Concentrate refining capacities at Mina Abdullah and Mina Al-Ahmadi
  • Improve the operating performances and energy efficiencies of the refineries
  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions
  • Optimize KNPC’s hydrocarbon product output between refineries
  • Close the Shuaiba refinery, and potentially integrate some offsite facilities (storage, blending and shipping/logistics facilities) with Mina Abdullah and Mina Al-Ahmadi operations.

The CFP includes the installation of 39 units, the revamp of seven units, and the closure of seven units. The project is expected to be completed by 2019. Once completed, the integrated refinery system will reduce sulfur in gasoline production from 500 ppm to less than 10 ppm. Benzene and aromatics concentrations will also decrease. Bunker fuel oil sulfur content will fall from 4.5 ppm to 1 ppm, and maximum sulfur content of full-range naphtha will be reduced from 700 ppm to 500 ppm.

Owner/operator: Kuwait National Petroleum Corp. (KNPC)
EPC: JGC–GS E&C–SK E&C, Petrofac–Samsung Engineering–CB&I, Fluor–Daewoo E&C–Hyundai Heavy Industries
Licensors: Axens, Haldor Topsoe, Chevron Lummus Global, Honeywell UOP, Shell Global

Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical Complex Project, Nghi Son, Vietnam

Located 120 mi south of Hanoi in Thanh Hoa province, the Nghi Son refinery and petrochemical project will be Vietnam’s second refinery. The project is being developed by a JV of Kuwait Petroleum Co. (35.1%), Idemitsu Kosan (35.1%), PetroVietnam (25.1%) and Mitsui Chemicals (4.7%). The 200-Mbpd refinery will process imported Kuwaiti crude oil to produce high-octane gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The project is part of the country’s 2020–2025 development plan and will eliminate the need for refined fuels imports by building multiple large-scale refineries.

At the time of publication, the country has one operating refinery, located at Dung Quat. The 176-Mbpd refinery is unable to satisfy domestic demand for refined products. The refinery’s capacity is being increased, but not enough to close the supply and demand gap for transportation fuels.

Upon completion, the plant will double Vietnam’s domestic refining capacity. The complex will also integrate aromatics and polypropylene (PP) facilities. Based on a detailed feasibility study conducted by ABB, total project cost is expected to reach $9 B. This cost includes the construction of the $5-B refinery, as well as the building of nearby harbor facilities.

In January 2013, the EPC contract was awarded to a consortium of Japan’s JGC Corp. and Chiyoda, South Korea’s GS E&C and SK E&C, France’s Technip and Malaysia’s Technip Geoproduction. Construction began in October 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2018. With the expansion of the Dung Quat refinery and the completion of the Nghi Son facility, Vietnam will be able to satisfy 65% of domestic refined product demand by 2020.

Owner/operator: Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical
EPC: JGC–Chiyoda–Technip–GS E&C–SK E&C
Licensor: Axens


BPCL’s Kochi Integrated Refinery Expansion Project, Kochi, Kerala, India

Due to high demand growth for refined petroleum products in India, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) is investing more than $4 B in the expansion and modernization of the Kochi refinery. Located in the Indian state of Kerala, the Kochi Integrated Refinery Expansion Project (IREP) will increase the facility’s refining capacity from 9.5 MMtpy to 15.5 MMtpy. IREP will also include modernizing the plant to process high-sulfur crudes to produce high-quality transportation fuels that meet Euro 4 and Euro 5 specifications.

The project includes the installation of a new crude distillation unit (CDU), delayed coker unit (DCU), fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU), VGO hydrotreater, diesel hydrotreater, sulfur recovery unit (SRU), tail gas treating unit (TGTU), hydrogen-generation unit, offsites and utilities. BPCL will also build a green biofuel refinery to produce ethanol from agricultural and municipal waste. The expansion project is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year. Once completed, the Kochi refinery will be the largest public-sector refinery in India.

BPCL is also proposing the future integration of a petrochemicals complex at the Kochi refinery. The proposed petrochemical facility would utilize the refinery’s propylene production as feedstock to produce specialty chemicals. The petrochemical project has received all construction approvals and is expected to be completed in 2018.

Owner/operator: Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd.
EPC: Essar Projects, Air Products and Chemicals, Technip
Licensor: CB&I


Petroperu Talara Refinery Modernization Project, Talara, Peru

To increase the production of low-sulfur refined transportation fuels, Peru is expanding and modernizing its Talara refinery. The $3.5-B project will allow the refinery to meet new sulfur requirements for gasoline and diesel, as well as increase the facility’s flexibility to process heavier crudes. The plant’s refining capacity will increase from 62 Mbpd to 95 Mbpd.

The project includes the expansion and modification of existing processing units, such as the CDU, the catalytic cracking complex and the vacuum distillation unit (VDU). New processing units will also be constructed onsite. These units include a diesel hydrotreater, a cracked naphtha hydrotreater, a VDU, a flexicoker, a naphtha hydrotreater, a naphtha catalytic reformer, an amine unit and a cogeneration unit.

Tecnicas Reunidas was awarded the EPC contract in 2Q 2014. The scope of work included design and detailed engineering, procurement of all equipment and materials, construction and assistance to the facility.

Haldor Topsoe will supply the technology license, engineering, catalyst and proprietary equipment for a hydrogen plant, a ULSD hydrotreating plant and a wet sulfuric acid plant.

Axens was also awarded a process technology licensing contract for the project. The company provided process technologies for the naphtha hydrotreater, reformer, FCC gasoline desulfurization unit and LPG treatment unit.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 3Q 2017. Once completed, the facility will be able to produce transportation fuels that contain less than 50 ppm of sulfur.

Owner/operator: Petroperu
EPC: Tecnicas Reunidas
Licensors: Axens, Haldor Topsoe


Jazan Refinery and Terminal Project, Jazan, Saudi Arabia

Within the past two years, Saudi Arabia has added 800 Mbpd of new refining capacity with the startup of the SATORP and YASREF refineries. An additional 400 Mbpd of domestic refining capacity will go online in 2018 when Saudi Aramco’s $7-B Jazan refinery commences operations. The refinery is part of a $20-B plan to develop the industrial city of Jazan, as well as increase economic development in the region and create employment opportunities for Saudis. The Jazan city project includes the construction of the world’s largest integrated gasification combined-cycle power plant (IGCC). The IGCC will use steam from the Jazan refinery’s vacuum residue stream to generate nearly 4,000 MW of electricity. This power will not only supply electricity to the refinery, but also to the city residents.

The Jazan refinery will process 400 Mbpd of Arabian Heavy and Arabian Medium crude oil to produce 80 Mbpd of gasoline, 250 Mbpd of ultra-low-sulfur diesel and more than 1 MMtpy of benzene and paraxylene. The project also includes the construction of a marine terminal on the Red Sea. The new terminal will be built to accommodate very large crude carriers.

KBR was awarded contracts for FEED and project management services. The facility will use licensed processing technologies from Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) and Axens. CLG will provide its ISOCRACKING technology for the refinery’s hydrocracking unit, and Axens will provide technology for a naphtha hydrotreater for feedstock purification, CCR reforming for aromatics production, a C5/C6 isomerization unit to provide high-octane components for gasoline, a gasoil desulfurization hydrotreater and technology for the production of high-purity paraxylene and benzene. Major EPC contracts include:

  • Tecnicas Reunidas: Hydrocracker, diesel hydrotreater
  • JGC: Naphtha unit, and benzene and paraxylene plants
  • SK Engineering and Construction: CDU and vacuum unit
  • Petrofac: Tank farms
  • Hanwha Engineering and Construction: Marine terminal
  • Hyundai Arabia: Sour water stripper unit and amine regeneration unit
  • Hitachi Plant Technologies: Utilities/offsites.

Construction of the refinery began in 2014. The plant is scheduled to be completed in 2018. Once completed, the facility will produce fuels that meet Euro 5 specifications.

Owner/operator: Saudi Aramco
Licensors: Axens, Chevron Lummus Global
EPC: Hanwha E&C, Hitachi Plant Technologies, Hyundai Arabia, JGC, Petrofac, SK E&C, Tecnicas Reunidas



Dow Chemical’s Oyster Creek Pdh Unit Project, Oyster Creek, Texas

To monetize cheap, abundant shale gas feedstock, Dow Chemical is investing heavily in its downstream petrochemical value chain. This investment includes the construction of a new propane dehydrogenation unit (PDH) at its Oyster Creek site near Freeport, Texas. The project is part of a multibillion-dollar investment Dow is making along the US Gulf Coast. This capital-intensive project, named the Gulfstream Program, includes the expansion of Dow’s production facilities in Freeport, Texas and Plaquemine, Louisiana. The investments being made at Oyster Creek include the construction of a new ethane cracking unit with a total capacity of 1.5 MMtpy; power, utilities and infrastructure; and the new PDH unit.

As a consequence of the shale gas boom, US crackers have switched away from naphtha feedstocks to lighter, shale-based feedstocks. Consequently, this trend has caused a tightening of domestic propylene supplies. To decrease the propylene supply and demand gap, the US has announced the construction of multiple PDH units.

Dow’s new PDH unit finished performance testing in March. Up until the unit’s completion, the US had only one operating PDH plant, owned and operated by Flint Hills Resources. Dow’s PDH unit will be capable of producing 750 Mtpy of polymer-grade propylene from propane. At the time of publication, it is one of the largest PDH plants operating in the world. The unit was built by Fluor and uses UOP technology. The facility will allow Dow to utilize readily available, cost-effective shale gas to produce key petrochemicals in the US.

Owner/operator: Dow Chemical
EPC: Fluor
Licensor: Honeywell UOP


Tahrir Petrochemicals Complex, Ain Sokhna, Egypt

Due to strong domestic demand for polymers and petrochemical products, Egypt is investing heavily in its petrochemical sector. The largest and most capital-intensive project is the $7-B Tahrir Petrochemicals Complex. The project is located in Ain Sokhna, and is being developed by Carbon Holdings. Once completed, the complex will house the world’s largest naphtha cracker. The plant will produce up to 1.5 MMtpy of ethylene, as well as 880 Mtpy of propylene, 250 Mtpy of butadiene, 350 Mtpy of benzene, 150 Mtpy of gasoil and 100 Mtpy of hexane-1.

The complex will be built by a JV of Linde and SK E&C. Linde will be responsible for the construction of the ethylene plant, and SK E&C will build the polyethylene plant. The construction of offsites and utilities will be carried out by Maire Tecnimont, Archirodon Group and Drake & Scull International.

Products will be consumed by domestic and international markets. Completion of the complex is set for 2019.

Owner/operator: Carbon Holdings
Licensors: Univation Technologies, CB&I, Linde, Espindesa
EPC: Linde–SK E&C, Maire Tecnimont–Archirodon Group–Drake & Scull International


Refining and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID), Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia

Malaysia is developing numerous projects under its Economic Transformation Program (ETP). Launched in 2010, the ETP’s goal is to turn Malaysia into a developed country by 2020. Some of the most significant ETP investments will be made in the country’s oil and gas sector. These goals include increased production at offshore oil and gas fields, as well as the construction of capital-intensive downstream projects.

One of the country’s most ambitious projects is the development of the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC). The PIPC project is located in Pengerang, Southern Johor, and encompasses two primary phases. Phase 1 saw the development of the Pengerang Independent Deepwater Petroleum Terminal.

The second primary project phase is the construction of the $27-B RAPID project. RAPID will include a 300-Mbpd refinery, a petrochemical complex with a combined capacity of 7.7 MMtpy of various products, and an LNG regasification terminal. RAPID is estimated to cost $16 B, while the associated facilities will cost more than $11 B. Although the project has been delayed several times, Petronas’ board of directors approved it in April 2014.

In 2014, Petronas awarded five major engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contracts:

  • CTCI–Chiyoda–Synerlitz Sdn. Bhd.: Residue FCC unit, LPG treating, propylene recovery and caustic neutralization units
  • Sinopec Engineering Group: CDU, atmospheric residue desulfurization units, hydrogen and distribution units
  • Tecnicas Reunidas: Kerosine hydrotreating (HT) unit, diesel HT unit, naphtha HT unit, cracked-naphtha HT unit and continuous catalytic reformer units
  • Petrofac: Amine recovery units, sulfur recovery units, sour water stripping units, liquid sulfur storage unit and sulfur solidification units
  • Toyo Engineering–Toyo E&C: Steam cracker complex.

The scheduled startup date for the RAPID project is early 2019. Once completed, the complex will allow Malaysia to produce high-quality refined products. It will also establish Southern Johor as a new petrochemicals hub.

Owner/operator: Petronas
EPC: CTCI–Chiyoda–Synerlitz Sdn. Bhd.–MIE Industrial Sdn. Bhd., Sinopec Engineering Group, Tecnicas Reunidas, Petrofac, Toyo Engineering–Toyo E&C
Licensors: Axens, CB&I, Jacobs Engineering, MECS, LyondellBasell


Kiyanly Petrochemical Complex, Kiyanly, Turkmenistan

In 2011, after the appraisal of several natural gas fields, Turkmenistan discovered proven reserves of almost three times what was initially projected. Revised estimates have increased from 94 Tcf to 265 Tcf. These discoveries have made the country the sixth-largest natural gas holder in the world.

Although Turkmenistan has a vast amount of proven natural gas reserves, production is lacking. However, due to developments over the past two years, the government has instituted programs to boost oil and gas production to monetize the country’s abundant resources. A major investment is being made in the country’s chemical sector. Turkmengas, the country’s state-owned oil and gas company, is investing in the capital-intensive Kiyanly Petrochemicals complex. The facility will be located at Kiyanly, on the east coast of the Caspian Sea. The facility will process 5 Bm3/y of natural gas, from operations in the Caspian Sea, into products such as ethylene, ethylene derivatives, urea and ammonia.

In total, the plant will produce 400 Mtpy of ethylene and high-density polyethylene, and 80 Mtpy of polypropylene. Additional facilities will be constructed, as well as offsites and utilities. The plant is being built by a consortium of Hyundai Engineering, Hyundai E&C, Toyo Engineering and LG International. The processing units will use technologies from Ineos, BASF, CB&I Lummus Technology and Toyo.

Operations at the facility are expected to begin in 2018. Products from the plant will be used domestically, as well as exported to Asian and European markets. 

Owner/operator: Turkmengas
Licensors: Ineos, BASF, Toyo, CB&I, W.R. Grace
EPC: Hyundai Engineering–Hyundai E&C–LG International–Toyo Engineering  HP

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