Oman Oil Refineries & Petroleum Industries Co. (ORPIC) has completed a major turnaround involving installation of a new reactor for an existing residue fluid catalytic cracking (RFCC) unit at the operator’s now 198,000-b/d Sohar refinery, about 230 km northwest of Muscat.
Subcontracted by India's Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (L&T) for work on the turnaround, heavy-lift contractor Mammoet—in close collaboration with L&T—developed detailed erection and lifting plans over the course of more than a year to complete the project, the scope of which included using its ultraheavy PTC 35 lift ring crane to remove the old RFCC reactor in one piece, as well as install the new 37-m long, 740-tonne reactor, external rise, and associated components during the turnaround period, Mammoet said in mid-December.
The new installation came as part of ORPIC’s RFCC reactor replacement project, the reactor and riser for which were assembled and manufactured by L&T affiliate Larsen & Toubro Heavy Engineering LLC (L&T HE) in Haldia, India, said Anupam Ghosal, L&T HE’s head of modification, revamp, and upgrade business.
While further details regarding the 2019 turnaround and RFCC reactor replacement project were not disclosed, the maintenance event follows ORPIC’s April inauguration of its multi-billion-dollar Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP), a long-planned, brownfield modernization program to technically enhance and expand what was previously only a 116,000-b/d refinery (OGJ Online, Feb. 24, 2017).
The $2.7-billion SRIP added 82,000 b/d in crude processing capacity at Sohar to increase the refinery’s average overall fuel production by 70%, including expanding production growth by 90% for diesel, 37% for gasoline, 93% for kerosine, 93% for jet fuel, 91% for LPG, 175% for naphtha, and 44% for propylene, ORPIC said.
Alongside incorporating the RFCC reactor replacement project, the SRIP capital investment covered installation of five new units at the refinery, including the new 82,000-b/d crude distillation unit (CDU), vacuum distillation unit (VDU), delayed coker, hydrocracker, and bitumen-blowing unit.
In addition to helping boost environmental performance of the site, the new CDU, VDU, delayed coker, hydrocracker, and bitumen-blowing unit were designed to help the refinery improve its ability to process heavier Oman Export Blend (OEB) crude, as well as cope with unforeseen changes in quality of the crude oil mix, ORPIC said.
Upon reaching full commercial operation, ORPIC previously said the newly expanded Sohar refinery would be equipped to produce more than 13 million tonnes/year of finished products to serve growing domestic demand.