Petroleos de Portugal SA (Petrogal) announced a plan to invest $800 million at its Sines refinery to meet tighter European Union fuel specifications and to improve the existing refining process.
Removal of sulfur from diesel fuel will be the main thrust of investment. The first set of new EU rules is due in place next year and fixes the maximum diesel sulfur content at 330 ppm, but this will be tightened even further in 2005, when the maximum will be 50 ppm (OGJ, July 6, 1998, Newsletter).
Sines lies south of Lisbon and is the largest of Portugal`s two refineries, with crude distillation capacity of 213,000 b/d. The state firm also operates a second refinery near Oporto, which has throughput capacity of 91,300 b/d. Petrogal said that the investment would cover the revamping of some units and the construction of some new ones, with construction work slated for 2000-03.
So far only two basic design contracts have been let: Institut Français du Pétrole, Paris, will perform design work to increase the capacity of an existing 34,000 b/d gas oil hydrodesulfurization (HDS) unit to 37,000 b/d; and UOP LLC, Des Plaines, Ill., will perform design work for upgrading a 31,500 b/d distillate hydrotreater to 35,000 b/d of deep desulfurization capacity.
Other planned work, for which no contracts have been let, includes: a new 26,000 b/d fluid catalytic cracking unit; a new 17,000 b/d hydrodesulfurization unit for a 70° C.-plus cut; a new 30,000 b/d hydrocracker; and a hydrogen plant and ancillary units, for which required capacities are still under evaluation.
The project is expected to place the refinery in the top tier of plants, as far as sulfur-removal capacity is concerned. The refinery already has four such units: the two units that IFP and UOP will upgrade, plus a 24,750 b/d catalytic reformer feed pretreater and a 13,500 b/d FCC feed pretreater.