Processing news briefs, Aug. 18

Nigerian National Petroleum Corp�.Comerint Nigeria�ExxonMobil Research & Engineering�Oil Refineries�Ibn Baitar�Toyo Engineering Group�Saudi Basic Industries Corp�.Saudi Fertilizers�GE Plastics�Foster Wheeler Iberia�Total Nigeria

Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. has awarded a $7.6 million contract to Eni SPA unit Comerint Nigeria Ltd. to repair the damaged boiler of the 125,000 b/d Warri refinery, according to sources. Operations at the refinery were shut down in February 1999 when a crude oil boiler exploded. Ten companies were short-listed for the contract before it was awarded to Comerint. The repair work is likely to be completed within 5 months, just ahead of the turnaround maintenance of the refinery scheduled for the first quarter of 2001.

ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Co., Fairfax, Va., said Monday that Israel's Oil Refineries Ltd. has selected a proprietary ExxonMobil process for use at its Haifa, Israel, refinery. The process selectively removes sulfur and minimizes the hydrogenation of olefins, thus minimizing octane loss, said ExxonMobil. Use of existing equipment at the Haifa refinery will allow for rapid implementation and captures the benefit of cat naphtha desulfurization with minimum olefins saturation, company officials said.

Partners in the joint venture Saudi national chemical fertilizers company Ibn Baitar plan to expand one of Saudi Arabia's ammonia production plants to 583,000 tonnes/year from 500,000 tonnes, said Abdullah al Assaf, the chairman of Ibn Baitar. Ibn Baitar awarded the contract, which includes design, procurement, and construction, to Japanese company Toyo Engineering Group. Work is expected to be complete by the first quarter 2002, said the Saudi Press Agency. Partners in Ibn Baitar are Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Saudi Fertilizers Co.

General Electric unit GE Plastics has awarded a partnership of three Spanish engineering companies, led by Foster Wheeler Corp. subsidiary Foster Wheeler Iberia, a contract for engineering, procurement, and construction management of a new $480 million, 130,000-tonne/year polycarbonate plant to be built in Cartagena, Spain. The project will be a duplicate of a plant built in Cartagena in 1999, said Foster Wheeler. The new plant will be installed next to the existing plant. It should be complete in 2002.

Turnaround maintenance work on the Kaduna refinery in Nigeria will not be completed until September 2001, said Chairman of Total Nigeria PLC Phillipe Raphael. Total is repairing the plant. Total was awarded the $214 million contract in 1998. The fact that it has not yet complete is spurring general discontent, since fuel shortages are severe in that country.

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