Oman Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic), the Sultanate's refining and petrochemicals flagship, has completed the installation of a giant hydrocracker reactor -- the first of its kind in the Sultanate -- as part of the Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP).
Reaching a height of 42 metres and weighing approximately 950 metric tonnes, the hydrocracker reactor is the heaviest piece of equipment that makes up the multi-billion dollar SRIP scheme. Extensive preparatory works were under way two months prior to the installation of the hydrocracker, with actual installation transpiring in a single day with the assistance of two cranes, and a heavy lift team comprising 36 personnel.
The hydrocracker, which is a two-stage unit, is one of the most critical units for Orpic's future Sohar Refinery operations. Operated at a pressure of 160 Bar, and temperature of around 400 degrees celsius, the design of unit includes built-in features that enable a quick response to various emergency situations.
This will enable Orpic to meet increasing demand of petroleum products in the Sultanate, as well as reducing refinery emissions and improving refinery margins. The hydrocracker unit will result in increased distillates production complying with Euro V specifications.
Operation of the hydrocracker unit requires a high level of skill; therefore specialist training, by a process licenser and operator, is being provided to Orpic.
The Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP) is scheduled for commissioning in 2016. It is being delivered in response to the need to upgrade Orpic's refining capability in order to further maximize the value of Omani crude oil, and to ensure that the Sultanate's increasing demand for fuel will be met.
When SRIP comes on stream, current production of fuels, naphtha and propylene will be raised by 70 per cent. From a fuels perspective, this increase will meet the needs of continually growing fuel consumption in the country, which has increased by 10 per cent annually over the past 5 years. SRIP will also ensure the ability to meet the increasing demand for oil and refined products, and improve the Sohar refinery's ability to process heavier Omani crude oil, via five new units including: Crude Distillation Unit (CDU); Vacuum Distillation Unit (VDU); Delayed Coker Unit (DCU); Hydrocracker Unit (HCU) and Bitumen Blowing Unit.
In addition to the immediate commercial benefits that SRIP brings to the business, it will also have an impact in other areas. 300 direct, permanent jobs will be created, and around 2,400 Omani contract roles will be offered over the project lifetime. In-Country value is an integral part of SRIP and substantial local business participation is anticipated, with an estimated 900 indirect jobs to be generated by the multiplier effect SRIP will have on the local economy.