Sonangol EP lets contract for FCC units

Uchenna Izundu
OGJ International Editor

LONDON, Aug. 20 -- Sonangol EP let a contract to KBR Inc., Houston, to provide license and engineering services for grassroots fluid catalytic cracking units (FCC) and hydroprocessing technologies for the 200,000 b/d Sonaref refinery in Lobito, Angola, which is slated to start in 2012.

KBR will provide licensing services for the state-of-the-art Orthoflow FCC technology and a moderate pressure hydrocracking unit (MPHC). “This integrated solution will provide Sonangol the flexibility to control the gasoline to diesel ratio and to take advantage of seasonal demands,” said KBR.

The company also will offer diesel hydrotreating and kerosene hydrotreating technologies to produce premium distillate products. The four technology units are delivered in partnership with ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Co., Fairfax, Va., under joint marketing alliances for FCC and hydroprocessing technologies between the two companies.

KBR was awarded the front-end engineering and design contract for the refinery last November.

Sonaref is a strategic project that is meant to reduce Angola’s reliance on imported fuels, creating unleaded gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, illuminant oil, LPG, and limited quantities of sulfur and oil coke. It will be constructed on a 150-hectare site north of Lobito in Angola's coastal Benguela province. Sonangol is committed to matching the environmental requirements of export target markets, including Europe and the US.

But Sonangol has found it difficult to secure a partner to develop the estimated $3.5 billion refinery and financial backing. In 2007, Sinopec pulled out amid reports that it wanted products from the refinery to be sent to China.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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