CB&I Lummus has won a contract to provide design engineering and project management consultancy services linked to the expansion and upgrade of the nation's biggest refinery at Sohar. CB&I Lummus, which is part of the multinational engineering and construction conglomerate Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (known commonly as CB&I), led a field of 7 reputable firms that bid for the prestigious contract valued at RO 19.192 mln. As Front-end Engineering and Project Management Consultant, CB&I Lummus will oversee the expansion and modernisation of Sohar Refinery into a world-scale facility. The upgrade will not only ramp up the plant's output of refined petroleum fuels for the domestic and export markets, but also augment its ability to meet feedstock supply commitments to nearby downstream petrochemical schemes.
The expansion project will effectively mark the first major undertaking of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries (OORPI), a new established entity to oversee the management of Sohar Refinery (represented by Oman Refineries and Petrochemicals Company LLC) and its integrated downstream petrochemical units represented by Oman Polypropylene LLC and Aromatics OmanLLC. OORPI's mandate is to support the development of the Sultanate's petrochemical and refining sector into a competitive, international-class industry. The refinery upgrade is based on a Value Maximisation Study commissioned by the government to help optimise the plant's configuration with a view to maximising the output of refined products, feedstock, and other petroleum byproducts. The study, conducted by Engineers India Limited, mooted a major expansion of the refinery's design capacity from the present 116,400 barrels per day (bpd) to 187,774 bpd- a jump of over 60%.
In conjunction with the upgrade, several new units will be added and integrated into the existing refinery complex. They include a 71,500 bpd Crude Distillation Unit, 96,800 bpd Vacuum Distillation Unit, 66,400 bpd Once-Through Hydrocracker Unit, 42,400 bpd Solvent De-Asphalting Unit, sulphur recovery unit, sour water stripper units, amine regeneration unit, and isomerisation unit, among other systems. Utility generation and offsite storage facilities will be augmented as well. According to officials, the upgrade will contribute to across-the-board improvements in Sohar refinery's performance, output, and quality of feedstock committed to the downstream petrochemical projects Aromatics Oman and Oman Polypropylene. In addition to enhancing the feed quality of the Residual Fluid Catalytic Cracker, the upgrade will enable Sohar Refinery to supply the requisite quantity and quality of feedstock naphtha to Aromatics Oman. Further, the modernised plant will also be able to meet feedstock commitments in the form of polymer grade propylene to Oman Polypropylene's complex located next door. Additionally, bitumen will be added for the first time to Sohar Refinery's range of commercially valuable products and byproducts. A key environmental goal will also be realised when the expanded and upgraded refinery is eventually brought into operation. Blended refined products from the refinery will comply with Euro VI emission norms, thereby enhancing the refinery's market appeal for its products globally.