State-owned South Refineries Company (SRC) is prequalifying engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms for a contract to build a new hydrogen production unit in Basra.

SRC plans to build a 8,000-cubic-metre-an-hour (cm/h) hydrogen production unit, along with a hydrogen storage tank. Prequalification documents are set to be submitted on 11 November, with an invitation to bid expected in December.

The hydrogen production unit will be tendered on a lump-sum turn-key (LSTK) basis. The contractor will take responsibility for detailed designs, including processes, mechanical and instrumental for the plant. Construction is expected to take 18 months.

The ageing Basra Refinery was commissioned in 1973 and currently has two atmospheric distillation units, each with a capacity of 70,000 barrels a day (b/d). A third atmospheric distillation unit is currently under construction and will be completed in early 2013.

SRC plans to build additional process units, such as a kerosene hydrotreater, naphtha hydrotreater and an isomerisation unit.

One of the major tenders expected at the Basra Refinery is for a fluid catalytic converter(FCC) unit. At the end of January, Rome-based APS Engineering, a subsidiary of Japan’s JGC was still in the final stages of the front-end engineering and design (feed). France’s Axens was selected to provide a technology licence for the FCC unit.