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Attock Refinery Limited -- past, present and future.

Attock Refinery Limited - Past, Present and Future

Attock Refinery's long association with the refining industry of this subcontinent began with the discovery of oil at Khaur (87 kilometers south-west of Rawalpindi) in 1915. Two small batch stills constituted the Morgah "refinery" started in 1922, at a capacity of 2500 BPSD. For many years, however, because of the disappointing behaviour of this first oil field, the refinery ran on a near starvation diet.

It was the discovery of oil at Dhulian in 1935 that led to the installation of a continuous Atmospheric-cum-Vacuum Distillation Unit of 5000 BPSD capacity in 1939. Another unit of 5500 BPSD along with downstream units like Dewaxing and Wax Percolation were commissioned in 1949 following discoveries of heavy crudes: Joyamair in 1944 and Balkassar in 1946. Together with facilities to produce lubes, grease and bitumen, Attock Refinery was at one time producing the full range of petroleum products.

Based on the forecasts for crude during the mid-1970's, which indicated a high potential for an additional crude availability of about 20000 BPD, Attock Refinery Limited, in order to fulfil its long-term commitment to refine crude of the Potwar region, decided in 1979 to add a new 20000 BPSD distillation unit incorporating the latest technology. While this unit was still under construction, however, an additional 5000 BPSD skid-mounted distillation unit was flown over and commissioned in April 1980 to cater for high, immediate and un-expected receipts from Adhi and Qazian fields. The 20000 BPSD unit, which has a built-in facility for LPG production, was commissioned in January 1981.

The earlier crude forecasts, however, proved to be over-optimistic, and it was not till the discovery of Dhurnal in 1984 that crude in adequate quantities became available to ARL. The full utilization of our current nameplate capacity of 30500 BPSD, however, finally materialized in January 1990, with the discovery of Bhangali crude and the reworking on OGDC's Fimkassar oilfield.

ARL presently meets 13 per cent of total country demand for petroleum products and fulfils 44 per cent of the demand for petroleum products required in its supply area, i.e. from central Punjab to the Northern areas. The remaining requirement, therefore, is met through product shipments from Karachi. The demand for petroleum products is expected to register a continuous growth, reaching a figure of 460,000 BPD by the year 2000.

Based on a continuous watch on the supply/demand situation for petroleum products, as well as on the crude avails in the Potwar region, Attock Refinery Limited foresees the need for additional refining capacity of 20000 BPD in this part of Pakistan. It was with this in mind that ARL appointed a foreign consultant as early as 1988, to prepare an engineering design and specification (EDS) package for:

a) expansion of its existing distillation capacity by 12400 BPD, and

b) addition of a new 6000 BPSD heavy crude unit to cater for the increasingly heavier crude mix predicted in the future crude scenario.

ARL also carried out its own studies for a rationalization and upgrade of its storage and other off-site facilities to supplement those carried out by the foreign consultants. With all these studies in hand, ARL is now in a position to expand its existing refinery so that its revised capacity reaches 48900 BPSD.

It is a manifestation of ARL's ongoing commitment to the petroleum refining industry of Pakistan that it has already spent a considerable amount in the preparation of the EDS package and other requisite documents in spite of its previous poor experience with crude forecasts. Having the required infrastructure already in place, furthermore, ARL offers the quickest solution to the problem of expanded capacity required in the Northern Areas, and currently awaits the Government's approval for its project, as well as on a revised product pricing formula, based on international norms, proposed to ensure adequate return on its shareholders investment.

ARL's expansion, besides providing adequate capacity for local crude production, will also encourage further exploration activity in this part of Pakistan.
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Title Annotation:Attock Refinery Limited of Pakistan
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Oct 1, 1990
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