Construction nears for Egyptian refinery project

Egyptian Refining Co. (ERC) plans to begin construction this month on its grassroots refining upgrade project to be built within the existing Mostorod Petroleum Complex (MPC), 20 km northeast of Cairo in Qalyoubia Governate, Egypt (OGJ Online, Jan. 21, 2014).

Construction on the $3.7 billion project, which is designed to address Egypt’s demand for petroleum products and reduce the country’s dependence on imports, is scheduled to begin on Apr. 15 with piling work and some site preparation work related to underground obstacles like foundations, ERC’s Chief Executive Tom Thomason told OGJ.

“Also, as we are on a brownfield site, the soil remediation contractor has begun mobilizing,” Thomason said.

A joint-development of both the private sector and Egypt’s government, the ERC project includes the construction of a hydrocracking and coking complex within the walls of government-owned Cairo Oil Refinery Co.’s (CORC) 145,000-b/d refinery, the nation’s largest.

Once completed, the hydrocracking and coking plant—which will receive 67% of its feedstock from CORC in the form of fuel oil—will have the capacity to produce more than 4.1 million tonnes/year of refined products, including more than 2.2 million tpy of Euro 5 diesel as well as jet fuel, gasoline, LPG, naphtha, reformate, sulfur, and coke.

The entirety of the plant’s liquid fuels production will be sold to state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. at international prices under a 25-year off-take agreement, while sulfur and coke production will be marketed to industrial users and suppliers.

In addition to an 80,000-b/d vacuum distillation unit and 40,000-b/d hydrocracker, the project includes a 25,000-b/d delayed coker, a 23,000-b/d naphtha hydrotreater, and a 32,000-b/d distillate hydrotreater.

While discussion as well as initial plans for the project began between Egypt’s government and the private sector as early as 2006 (OGJ Online, Sept. 25, 2006), the 2008 global financial crisis, a 2011 political revolution in Egypt, and ongoing banking challenges in the Eurozone led to delays in advancing any progress towards actual construction.

“It’s very exciting to be beginning construction after so many years,” Thomason said.

With construction on the EPC project scheduled to last about three years, the upgraded plant should be delivering on-spec product by February 2017 (OGJ Online, Jan. 20, 2014).

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