NOC moves ahead with key refinery projects

03 May 2002

National Oil Corporation (NOC)is making progress with its $3,500 million programme to expand and upgrade the country's refinery infrastructure following the award of a contract to expand facilities at Azzawiya. Industry sources say the announcement will be followed shortly by another major contract to expand facilities in Tobruk.

South Korea's LG Engineeringreceived in early April a letter of intent (LOI) for the upgrade of the 120,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) Azzawiya refinery. The Korean contractor was the only company to submit a revised price in March of Eur 300 million ($268 million) for the project. This follows the cancellation of an earlier LOI awarded in February to Paris-based Technip-Coflexip by the NOC affiliate, Azzawiya Refinery Company (MEED 29:3:02; 8:3:02).

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract calls for the installation of a new continuous catalytic reformer unit, naphtha and gas/oil hydrotreaters, an isomerisation unit, sulphur and amine units, tankage, and a 5,000-cubic-metre-a-day desalination plant. France's IFPis the technology licensor. Milan-based Foster Wheeler Italianais acting as the project management consultant. The completion of the upgrade is scheduled for late 2004.

A second phase of expansion is also planned for Azzawiya, which is expected to include a new residual catalytic cracker unit, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) facilities, and an additional sulphur treatment plant.

Three companies are understood to have submitted bids in April for the expansion of the 24,000-b/d Tobruk refinery. They are Germany's Krupp Uhde, the French arm of Litwinand LG. The project involves the installation of naphtha and gas/oil hydrotreating units, and catalytic reforming facilities in order to increase capacity at the plant, which takes crude oil from the Sarir pipeline.

The client, Arabian Gulf Oil Company (Agoco), is expected to make an award in the second half of 2002. IFP is the plant's technology licensor (MEED 4:8:00).

Other plants that are earmarked for investment include the 220,000-b/d Ras Lanuf complex near the industrial city of Sirte and the 10,000-b/d Brega refinery. At Ras Lanuf, NOC's Oil & Gas Downstream Investment Committee is looking for a foreign partner to operate the facilities. NOC is also planning a new 20,000-b/d grassroots plant at Sebha in the Murzuq region, to produce diesel fuel for local use (MEED 26:1:01).

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