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Oman ORPIC-Sohar Refinery to add Coker/Asphalt Blower/MTBE Units

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Charles Randall

Oman Orpic to add coker, bitumen, MTBE units in Sohar refinery expansion

Singapore (Platts)–5Dec2011/200 am EST/700 GMT

Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company, or Orpic, will add a delayed coker, a bitumen blower and an MTBE unit as part of its Sohar refinery expansion project, the company said Sunday.
“The new expansion supported by the Government of Oman is expected to improve the Sohar refinery’s product quality and increase output by more than 70%,” the company said in a statement on its website.
The expansion project, estimated to cost $1.5 billion, is expected to be completed by 2016. The company said an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the expansion is expected to be awarded in 2012.
The delayed coker will help increase the production of high-value products such as LPG, naphtha and diesel, by reducing the production of bitumen. Meanwhile, bitumen demand to the local market will be met with the addition of the bitumen blower, while the MTBE unit will enhance gasoline production, the company said.

The capacity of each unit was not revealed.

Orpic CEO Musab Al-Mahruqi said in the statement that the 116,000 b/d Sohar refinery has been operating at up to 110% of design capacity.
The expansion project will see the capacity of the refinery raised to 187,000 b/d through the installation of clean fuels units, as well as raising the capacity of and debottlenecking existing units, Platts reported in March. The expansion is primarily to provide Orpic stakeholder Aromatics Oman Ltd. with naphtha feedstock. At present, the refinery’s naphtha output of close to 13,000 b/d meets about a third of AOL’s demand for straight-run naphtha, Orpic said.
Downstream at the same site, Orpic has an aromatics unit producing 818,000 mt/year paraxylene and 198,000 mt/year benzene; as well as a 350,000 mt/year polypropylene unit.

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