Tunis fleshes out refinery project

24 February 2006

Societe Tunisienne des Industries de Raffinage (STIR) will issue in June tenders for a 30-year concession to develop a grassroots refinery at the port of La Skhira, companies were told at an Energy Ministry job explanation meeting in Tunis at the end of January. Bids for the estimated $2,000 million project are due to be submitted by shortlisted companies by October 2006, says a project source who attended the seminar. The deadline for applications to prequalify is 31 March. A contract award is set for March 2007 (MEED 13:1:06).

The refinery will have nameplate capacity of 120,000 barrels a day (b/d) and will produce gasoline, diesel, petroleum coke, bitumen and vacuum gas-oil as well as other clean fuels. Construction work is due to begin in December 2007, with operational start-up scheduled for June 2010.

The contract will involve the installation of naphtha hydrotreaters and splitters, twin catalytic reformers, isomerisation units, distillate hydrotreaters, vacuum distillation units (VDUs), hydrocrackers and fluid catalytic converters (FCCs), in addition to the construction of offsites and utilities, and associated buildings. The successful contractor will also be responsible for the procurement of crude, which is expected to be sourced from Libya and Algeria. The refinery will be developed on a 100-hectare site granted on a renewable 30-year concession. La Skhira, 340 kilometres south of Tunis, already has the following facilities: -'Trapsa' export jetty with storage capacity of 2.2 million barrels, fed by a 24-inch-diameter, 775-kilometre-long pipeline from east Algeria with capacity of 280,000 b/d;

-'Tankmed' mixed product storage and loading facility with capacity of 310,000 cubic metres;

A 120,000-cubic-metre refined product storage facility; andA port with depth of 15 metres and capacity to load three very large crude carriers (VLCCs), each with capacity of 880,000 barrels.

The successful bidder will also be granted customs and tax concessions, including exemption from income tax on export revenues for the first 10 years. At present, the country's only refinery is the 30,000-b/d facility at Bizerte, built in 1962 by Italy's Snamprogetti.

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