NRL lets contract for Karachi refining complex

Pakistan’s National Refinery Ltd. (NRL) has let a contract to China National Chemical Engineering Corp. Ltd. (CNCEC) for work related to the upgrade and expansion of its refining complex in the Korangi Industrial Zone, about 9 miles southeast of the center of Karachi.

NRL’s board approved the contract award in an Aug. 14 meeting held in Beirut, Lebanon, the company said in a recent notice to investors.

The contract, for installation of a high-sulfur diesel desulfurization plant and isomerization plant, as well as associated units, is valued at $242 million, NRL said.

The value of the contract represents 80% of the total investment of the Karachi revamp project, with the other 20% consisting of components that are to be presented to the company’s board at a later date, NRL said.

Designed to help the plant meet Euro-2 environmental standards, the diesel desulfurization unit is scheduled to be commissioned by December 2015, NRL said in its latest corporate environmental report.

The naphtha isomerization project, which is intended to increase the production of motor gasoline by 192,000 tonnes/year, also is due to be commissioned by December 2015, the company said.

Additional proposed elements of the revamp project at the Karachi complex—which consists of two lube refineries and one fuel refinery with a combined crude oil processing capacity of 2.9 million tpy—includes work to expand processing capacities at the complex, according to NRL’s corporate environmental report.

At its Lube 1 refinery, NRL plans to increase installed crude oil processing capacity to 17,000 b/sd from its current capacity of 12,050 b/sd, as well as to expand its vacuum fractionation capacity to 6,600 b/sd from 5,200 b/sd. Engineering design for this project component is completed, with the project likely to be commissioned in 2015, NRL said.

At its fuel refinery, NRL said it has envisioned a project to lift installed crude processing capacity at the crude distillation unit to 53,000 b/sd from its current capacity of 50,000 b/sd. In 2012, the company said it expected this element of the revamp project to be completed by December 2015.

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