REFINERY NEWS ROUNDUP: Fujairah to get fourth refinery in 2021

  • Dec 23, 2020
  • Investing

Fujairah’s fourth refinery should come online in 2021 as Brooge Energy expects its 25,000 b/d refinery producing low sulfur fuel oil to be launched in the second half of the year.

The port’s third refinery was started in April 2020, a 15,000 b/d plant owned by Ecomar Energy Solutions. Its capacity has since been expanded to 20,000 b/d, with plans to hit 60,000 b/d by 2023.

“We see the future as looking pretty good,” Ecomar’s trading director Leigh Shaddick said in an interview. “We are able to be nimbler than the big oil companies. The UAE has done a fantastic job managing COVID-19. The Port of Fujairah has done a great job. The infrastructure is there and there have been no delays in vessels coming in or leaving the port.”

The entire Middle East will be in recovery mode for most of 2021, with Fujairah’s prospects brightened somewhat by incremental trade of Murban crude delivered from Fujairah with the launch of ICE Futures Abu Dhabi, according to Iman Nasseri, the Middle East managing director for Facts Global Energy. “With Fujairah port throughput already recovered, there may be some more business in 2021 in terms of port activity but not much,” he said, adding that average trading of petroleum products in the Middle East will be about 7 million b/d in 2021, compared with about 6.5 million b/d in the third quarter of 2020 and well below the peak of about 7.5 million b/d in Q3 2019. It won’t be until 2022 when average Middle East trading exceeds the 2019 peak, and reach about 8.5 million b/d by 2023 or 2024 as giant refineries in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE and Oman start up, he said. “These 1 million plus b/d of additional products trade could potentially boost Fujairah business due to both incremental bunker demand as well as storage and trade activities,” he said.

Meanwhile, stockpiles of oil products at the UAE port of Fujairah jumped 6.7% in the week to Dec. 14 to their highest level since the end of August, the latest data from the Fujairah Oil Industry Zone shows. The total stood at 24.639 million barrels, a rise of 1.550 million barrels from the previous week. They were last higher on Aug. 31, when 25.124 million barrels was stored at the port, according to the data provided exclusively to S&P Global Platts.

Heavy distillates including fuel for power generation and bunkers rose 11% to 11.327 million barrels, the data showed.

Bunker values in Fujairah were up on the week with the rise in front-month ICE Brent futures underpinning price levels, market sources told Platts. Fujairah-delivered marine fuel 0.5% bunker fuel was assessed at $390/mt on Dec. 15, reflecting a rise of $9/mt week on week.

**Maintenance of the atmospheric distillation unit 10 at Syria’s Homs refinery, aimed at improving its performance and yield, will enable it to reach full capacity, according to Syria’s Sana news agency.

The atmospheric distillation unit 10 at Homs will be able to operate at its full capacity of 1 million mt/year following an upgrade and installation of new equipment which will improve the quality of oil products, S&P Global Platts reported earlier. This and atmospheric distillation unit 22 at the plant, which are being rehabilitated, were inspected by Syria’s Prime Minister Hussein Arnous over the weekend.

According to Arnous, there is a program in the Ministry of Oil and Homs Refinery to reach the highest possible production capacity. Arnous also said that after maintenance, production at the Banias refinery has become “excellent” and there is plan to continue upgrades until “all distillation units return to their normal state.”

Upgrades

Existing entries

**Ecomar Energy Solutions has expanded production capacity at Fujairah to 20,000 b/d from 15,000 b/d, and plans to reach 60,000 b/d by the beginning of 2022, when low sulfur fuel oil may be added to the product list. The refinery currently produces naphtha, kerosene, gasoil and residual fuel, and also has floating storage off Fujairah for oil products.

**Maintenance of the atmospheric distillation unit 10 at Syria’s Homs refinery, aimed at improving its performance and yield, will enable it to reach full capacity, according to Syria’s Sana news agency.

The atmospheric distillation unit 10 at Homs will be able to operate at its full capacity of 1 million mt/year following an upgrade and installation of new equipment which will improve the quality of oil products, S&P Global Platts reported earlier. This and atmospheric distillation unit 22 at the plant, which are being rehabilitated, were inspected by Syria’s Prime Minister Hussein Arnous over the weekend.

According to Arnous, there is a program in the Ministry of Oil and Homs Refinery to reach the highest possible production capacity. Arnous also said that after maintenance, production at the Banias refinery has become “excellent” and there is plan to continue upgrades until “all distillation units return to their normal state.”

**Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) has commissioned a new crude distillation unit 111 at its Mina Abdullah refinery, which is “the main gateway” the the Clean Fuels Project. The CDU has 264,000 b/d capacity and will contribute to raising the refinery capacity from 270,000 b/d to 454,000 b/d. Work on the clean fuels project has been ongoing since 2014. It will see the Mina al-Ahmadi and Mina Abdullah refineries integrated into a single complex. Upon completion, Mina al-Ahmadi will have 364,000 b/d capacity and with adding Mina Abdullah the whole refinery will have 800,000 b/d capacity. In June, the company completed the project at its Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery.

**Expansion of Iraqi Shuaiba refinery near Basrah, which was suspended in March due to the pandemic lockdown, has resumed in the first week of November, according to sources closer to the matter. The project includes expanding the capacity of Shuaiba to 280,000 b/d by installation and construction of a fourth CDU with 70,000 b/d capacity, an LPG unit, water treatment unit and an additional boiler. It was at an advanced stage when the work was suspended.

Work is still going on slowly but is expected to be completed and commissioned by March-April 2021.

Separately, Japanese company JGC Holdings Corp. has won a $3.8 billion contract to upgrade the Shuaiba refinery for Iraqi South Refineries Company, a state company under the oil ministry, S&P Global Platts has reported previously. JGC said the project consists of a fluid catalytic cracking unit (34,500 b/d), vacuum distillation unit (55,000 b/d), diesel desulfurization unit (40,000 b/d). The project was scheduled to be completed in 2025. The project aims to convert the excess fuel oil produced by the existing refinery units — 45% of the yield — to lighter products. When completed, the new units will increase production of the Shuaiba refinery by 19,000 b/d of prime grade gasoline (92 RON and 95 RON) and 36,000 b/d of diesel fuel. Both products will meet international environmental standards.

**Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) is aiming to phase out all fuel oil production by 2025 and focus on diesel and jet fuel, according to the company’s chairman Dawood Nassif. A $6 billion upgrade and modernization project of BAPCO’s flagship Sitra refinery is now 60% complete, Nassif said. The program will also see the refinery’s capacity expand to 380,000 b/d from 267,000 b/d. BAPCO will announce two further investments in 2021, which will see it target zero fuel oil, and focus on jet fuel and diesel, and also see its current naphtha production upgraded to petrochemicals, Nassif said. “We’re going to make jet fuel for delivery in 2023, which we believe will be smack on the recovery,” Nassif said. In the summer, Bapco said that the refinery expansion had been delayed due to COVID-19. The project, whose original timescale was four years, had been slated for completion in 2022, but that plan has changed, S&P Global Platts reported previously.

**Iran’s Isfahan oil refinery has roughly doubled its high-quality gasoil production and aims to reach Euro 5 emission specifications for the total production in 2021. The refinery’s gasoil purification unit will go on stream next year to process 20 million l/d of gasoil into high-quality fuel. Separately, the desulfurization unit at Iran’s Isfahan will go on stream in four years, the refinery managing director Morteza Ebrahimi said in August, according to state news agency IRNA. “This refinery will have all its products produced matching Euro 4 and Euro 5 standards by 2025,” Ebrahimi said.

**Iraqi’s oil minister Ihsan Ismaeel has laid the foundation stone for two units of total capacity 20,000 b/d at the Haditha refinery site in the western province of Anbar. The units will raise the capacity of the plant to around 35,000 b/d from 16,000 b/d. International companies will be approached to bid for building an additional 35,000 b/d at the refinery, which will raise its overall capacity to 70,000 b/d.

**Iraq is forging ahead with plans to boost its refining capacity by about a third by the first quarter of 2022 to reduce dependence on imports of gasoline and gas oil, deputy oil minister told S&P Global Platts. The ministry plans to rehabilitate and develop the Baiji complex north of Baghdad, where three refineries were damaged during the war with the self-styled Islamic State group, Hamed al-Zobai said. Currently one refinery is operating at 70,000 b/d, a second 70,000 b/d unit will come online by the year-end and a third 140,000 b/d facility should be operational in the next two years. The third refinery would take total capacity at the Baiji complex back to 280,000 b/d, making it again the largest facility in the country.

**Iraq’s oil ministry Sept. 6 announced plans to upgrade the country’s 20,000 b/d Qayyarah refinery, with the aim of adding a second 70,000 b/d production unit that would take the total capacity of the plant to 90,000 b/d.

**Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. reported Aug. 17 “significant progress” on the crude flexibility project, or CFP, at its Ruwais refinery, with “73% project delivery” of the ongoing upgrade. Upon completion in mid-2022, the CFP will allow ADNOC to process up to 420,000 b/d “of heavier and sourer grades of crude oil” at Ruwais.

**Iran’s Persian Gulf Star’s 420,000 b/d condensate refining capacity will be raised by 60,000 b/d.

**Iran will accelerate the expansion and upgrade of the Shiraz refinery. The expansion, which started in 2017, was due to be completed in three years but was slowed down due to sanctions. The first phase of the expansion and upgrade will involve upgrading the gasoline quality, with the second phase involving a diesel upgrade. An isomerization unit and diesel hydrotreater will be built under the project, estimated at $300 million. Shiraz has around 50,000 b/d current capacity. The expansion will add 26,000 b/d.

**Phase 2 of the upgrade at Iran’s Abadan refinery, which includes modernizing units to produce Euro 4 and Euro 5 compliant products, started in February 2017. Phase 2 includes building atmospheric and vacuum units, as well as gasoline, diesel and kerosene distillation units, a sulfur unit and a catalytic cracking unit. Abadan, with 400,000 b/d nameplate capacity, aims to stabilize its throughput at 360,000 b/d. It ultimately expects, following the four-phase upgrade program, to reduce fuel oil output by 40%.

**Iran’s Bandar Abbas and Imam Khomeini refineries will build coke plants, according to local media reports. The units, which will use fuel oil as feedstock, will take three years to complete and will produce high value products. They will produce around 700,000 mt/year, mostly of needle coke.

**Following a major upgrade project, Iran’s Tabriz refinery expects to reduce its fuel oil production. The refinery currently produces 4 million liters a day (1.416 million mt/year) of fuel oil, which is primarily used as a feedstock for tar. By about 2022, the refinery is expected to reduce fuel oil, or mazut, production from around 25% of product output to below 5%.

**The Kermanshah oil refinery in the west of Iran plans to raise capacity by 15,000 b/d and upgrade its products output. “With the implementation of this project, Kermanshah oil refining capacity will reach 40,000 b/d and quality of its products will be upgraded to Euro 5,” the head of the refinery’s board of directors, Sohrab Barandishan, said. No target date for the start or completion of the work was given.

**A gas condensate project is under construction in Iran as part of eight planned 60,000 b/d condensate refineries around Siraf, Bushehr province. The National Development Fund is financing one of the plants.

**ENOC is currently undertaking a $1 billion expansion program to boost the Jebel Ali refinery’s capacity to 210,000 b/d and meet Euro 5 emissions standards. It signed a contract with France’s Technip in September 2016 for the engineering, procurement and construction of a new 70,000 b/d condensate processing train.

**Saudi Arabia’s Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co., or Petro Rabigh, has awarded US-based Jacobs a contract to provide front-end engineering and design work, as well as project management consultancy, for a fuel oil upgrade project dubbed “Bottom of the Barrel.” The project aims to convert residue from crude distillation. The refinery is in the process of launching the phase 2 expansion which adds 15 chemical units in the Petro Rabigh complex.

**Saudi Aramco plans to complete a $2.5 billion clean fuels project at its Ras Tanura refinery in the first quarter of 2021. Work on the clean fuels project at Ras Tanura, which started in 2018, is 62% complete. The clean fuels project will produce lower sulfur diesel with low benzene content.

**Saudi Aramco has awarded a contract to KBR to provide technology, license, basic engineering design and equipment for its solvent de-asphalting for the Riyadh refinery residue upgrading and clean fuels project. The solvent de-asphalter technology assists refiners in complying with new International Maritime Organization fuel regulations in 2020, KBR said.

**US engineer CB&I has been awarded a $95 million contract for the expansion and modernization of Sasref.

**Iraq has added another 10,000 b/d of refining capacity after completing the rehabilitation of a CDU at the Kasik refinery in the north of the country, the oil ministry said. Rehabilitation work continues at the refinery’s other 10,000 b/d CDU.

**Jordan Petroleum Refinery Co. has awarded a contract to US engineer KBR for the design of a new residue hydro-processing unit as part of its expansion of the Zarqa refinery in Jordan.

Launches

Existing entries

**The new Al-Zour refinery in Kuwait has started test runs, according to a source close to the matter. In September, Fluor Corporation said that its joint venture with Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Heavy Industries has successfully started up two boilers which began generating steam at the new Al-Zour refinery. Upon completion, the 615,000 b/d refinery is expected to “be one of the largest refineries in the world,” Fluor said.

The refinery has been targeted for completion in 2020, S&P Global Platts reported previously. The petrochemicals complex at Al-Zour is due for completion in 2023, with start-up expected in 2024. The refinery has six trains of the world’s largest ARDS units (atmospheric residue units), and sulfur recovery units with 99.9% recovery, according to its website.

**Iraq plans to invite international companies to compete to build a 300,000 b/d refinery in the south of the country, the oil minister said Nov. 18. The refinery, to be built in Fao in the Basra Governorate, will be offered under the Build Operate Transfer or Build Own Operate Transfer investment model, Ihsan Ismaael said in a statement. A petrochemical facility could be integrated into the refinery at a later stage, he added.

**Iran’s Khatam al-Anbiya has started construction work on a 120,000 b/d plant to process gas condensate from the offshore South Pars gas field. The construction is scheduled to finish in two years, according to the commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, Saeed Mohammad, speaking on state television. Khatam al-Anbiya’s headquarters is the construction wing of the country’s elite Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC).

**Iraq is forging ahead with plans to boost its refining capacity. A new 140,000 b/d refinery in Karbala is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2022. Plans are also underway to build a new 70,000 b/d refinery in Qayara, near the Qayara oil field in the north. Besides these projects, the oil ministry is seeking to encourage investors to finance “investment refineries,” in several locations, including Zubair and Fao in the south. Iraq is in talks with Eni to build a 300,000 b/d refinery near the Zubair oil field operated by the Italian company in the southern part of the country. The first phase of the project includes commissioning 150,000 b/d by 2025.

**Iraq opened a downstream tender, hoping to attract engineering and construction companies to build a new refinery in Basra province.

**Iraq’s oil ministry is seeking investors for a 100,000 b/d refinery in Wasit province, a 70,000 b/d refinery in Samawa province and a 70,000 b/d refinery in Kirkuk. It has also added a 70,000 b/d site at Diwaniya, in Qadisiya province, south of Baghdad, a new 150,000 b/d project to be built in the west Anbar province. Work has yet to start on the 150,000 b/d Missan refinery.

**Saudi Aramco expects to begin processing crude at its Jazan refinery by Q1 2021, CEO Amin Nasser said Aug. 10. The newly constructed refinery, also spelled Jizan, will start with crude runs of 200,000 b/d before ramping up to 400,000 b/d, Nasser said. It had previously been expected to be commissioned at the end of 2019 and be ready for full operations in the second half of 2020. The refinery, in the far south of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea about 60 km (37 miles) from the Yemeni border, has been targeted in several missile attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, though Saudi officials say they have intercepted each attempted strike.

**UAE-based Brooge Energy said it had entered a refinery agreement with its Phase I customer to use best efforts to finalize the technical and design feasibility studies for its Fujairah refinery to be located on Phase I and II land and operated by Brooge Energy. The refinery was expected to be operational in Q3 2021 and produce low sulfur fuel oil in compliance with IMO 2020 requirements. Phase I started in January 2018.

**The Duqm refinery project in Oman was expected to start up in 2022. Construction of the plant, located in the special economic zone in Duqm, began in June 2018.

**Construction of the Anahita Oil Refinery in the western province of Kermanshah will start by the private sector in the current Iranian year that started March 20, the provincial governor Houshang Bazvand was quoted as saying by official news agency IRNA. According to Shana, the Anahita refinery has been designed to process 150,000 b/d of crude oil.

**Angola’s state-owned oil company, Sonangol, is working with Iraq’s ministry of oil to build a complex refinery in Mosul. The discussions between Sonangol and the ministry are for a refinery with a capacity of 100,000-150,000 b/d of complex products.

**Kuwait may add a new refinery in the south of the country, which could add 130,000-160,000 b/d of capacity.

**Canada’s Pacific Future Energy has been awarded a contract to build a 150,000 b/d refinery outside the southern Iraqi town of Nassiriya.

**Houston-based GTC Technology has agreed to a deal to provide a gasoline production unit to Iraq’s Al-Barham Group, which plans to build a refining complex in the northern city of Kirkuk.

Source: Platts