Turkey’s Tupras reports explosion at Izmir refinery

Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corp. (Tupras) is investigating an explosion that occurred on Oct. 11 at its 11 million-tonne/year Aliaga refinery in Turkey’s western province of Izmir.

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Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corp. (Tupras) is investigating an explosion that occurred on Oct. 11 at its 11 million-tonne/year Aliaga refinery in Turkey’s western province of Izmir.

The early morning explosion, which resulted from entrapped gas in the floating roof of a naphtha storage tank, took place during post-maintenance work at the tank, killing four contract workers and injuring a fifth, the operator confirmed in a series of releases.

While all employees, direct and contract, undergo compulsory training and ongoing development in the company’s work-safety procedures and practices prior to entering any plant, Tupras said it nevertheless will review all of its processes and work structures in the wake of the incident.

No impacts to the surrounding environment were reported, and the refinery continues to operate normally, Tupras said.

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A detailed investigation into the incident remains ongoing.

Izmir upgrades

As part of a series of initiatives the operator is undertaking to ensure long-term competitiveness and sustainability of its Turkish refining operations—including works at its 11 million-tonne/year Izmir, 5 million-tpy Kirikkale, and 1.1 million-tpy in Batman refineries—the operator earlier this year announced several projects currently under way or in development at the Izmir manufacturing site (OGJ Online, Aug. 11, 2017).

Alongside construction of a sulfur recovery unit to reduce the refinery’s sulfur dioxide emissions as well as increase its flexibility to process crudes with higher sulfur content at maximum capacity, Tupras also is executing the following at Izmir:

• U-7000 crude unit revamp. At a total cost of $53 million, this project involves upgrading and replacing furnaces and other equipment at the refinery’s existing crude unit to expand its ability to process a wider range of crudes at maximum-sustainable throughput rates and improve its environmental performance. With construction, equipment assembly, and pipe-laying works now under way, Tupras plans to complete the revamp and recommission the unit by yearend.

• FCC unit revamp. This $50.8-million project aims to improve the FCC’s ability to recover energy as well as increase efficiency of its reactors. With basic engineering for the project now completed, Tupras expects to begin detailed engineering work sometime this year.

• Continuous catalytic reforming (CCR) unit capacity expansion. This project aims to expand the CCR platforming unit’s capacity by 40.6% to 225 cu m/hr to accommodate increased runs of heavy straight-run naphtha as a means of increasing platformate and hydrogen product yields. Basic engineering for the $16-million project is currently under way.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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