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EGYPT - The Oil Refining Sector.

Egypt has nine oil refineries with a total capacity of 760,300 b/d. This sector is the biggest on the African continent. The government has spent over $3.5 bn since 1982 to upgrade the existing plants in order to raise and improve their product range. The state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (EGPC) is considering a tenth oil refinery, proposed to be built in Suez.

The following are profiles of the existing refineries and new projects in Egypt, and the companies which operate them:

Mostorod Refinery, south of Cairo, has a working capacity of 142,000 b/d and a design capacity of 115,000 b/d. Operated by Cairo Oil Refining Co. (CORC), a unit of EGPC, it came on stream in 1973. It produces gasoline, LPG, naphtha, propane and fuel gas. A vapour recovery unit came on stream in 1985 can can produce 74,000 t/y of LPG, 286,000 t/y of naphtha, 26,000 t/y of propane and 15,000 t/y of fuel gas.

A light naphtha isomerisation unit producing 330,000 t/y of high octane unleaded gasoline and a hydrotreating unit - both using technology licenced by UOP - have been installed at Mostorod, together with a control system, a power distribution network and a fire protection system. The refinery's general utilities were upgraded as well. These were among EGPC projects completed in 2000. EGPC's engineering unit ENPPI did the work.

Tanta Refinery, north of Cairo, is also operated by Cairo Oil Refining Co. It came on stream in 1969 with a design capacity of 25,000 b/d. After a series of debottlenecking works, with an upgrade completed in early 1997, this plant now has a capacity of 54,000 b/d.

Condensate recovery units at both of CORC's refineries produce 2m t/y for the domestic market.

The Mex Refinery in Alexandria occasionally exceeds its 115,000 b/d design capacity. On stream since 1957, it is run by Alexandria Petroleum Co (APC), another EGPC unit. APC has since 1997 formed units in partnership with the private sector, including local banks and insurance companies, to produce a variety of specialty oils at its Mex complex.

Mex was the only refinery in Egypt to operate during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. A gas recovery unit was installed in 1983 to produce butane. By end-1987 Lummus Crest completed the revamping of the plant's lube oil unit. This raised Mex's capacity and improved product quality. It can process different grades of crude oil. A 40,000 t/y hexane resolvent unit was built at Mex in the late 1980s by Kawasaki of Japan. A plant to raise the lube oil capacity from 120,000 t/y to 220,000 t/y was completed in 1995, together with a 30,000 t/y lube oil recycling unit using the process of the Dutch KTI Group. A 30,000 t/y re-refining back oil unit was installed in 1996 to produce 20,000 t/y of base stock and neutral oils.

One of APC's JV units at Mex has a continuous catalytic reformer (CCR) and associated isomerisation and hydrotreating units, using UOP process. They were installed in Feb. 2000. They can turn 13,500 b/d of crude oils and 700,000 t/y of naphtha into 880,000 t/y of high octane unleaded gasoline. The contractor was Technipetrol which got the $168m job in late Feb. 1998.

A vacuum distillation unit, a catalytic middle distillate dewaxing unit, a sour water stripper, an LPG recovery unit and other facilities have been installed at Mex by Tecnicas Reunidas of Spain under a $125m contract signed on June 28, 1998. These enable Mex to produce 356,000 t/y of high quality gasoil, 93,000 t/y of naphtha and 39,000 t/y of LPG.

Alexandria Mineral Oils Co. (AMOC), an APC affiliate which is the largest firm of its kind in Egypt producing mineral and hydraulic oils, has a 100,000 t/y plant built at the Mex complex. On stream in 2000, it produces basic and special oils and 27,000 t/y of wax. These cover local market needs and have reduced imports. AMOC was set up in 1997, with APC holding 20%. The other shareholders include the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, Banque du Caire, Misr Insurance Co. and El Clark Insurance Co.

AMOC has a 110,000 t/y lube oil plant at the Mex complex built by a French unit of Foster Wheeler under a contract signed in early 1998. Technology was licenced from Texaco. A sub-contracting JV of the local Orascom Construction Industries and IEMSA of Italy did the civil and mechanical works at the plant's process line under a contract awarded in Sept. 1999. Another JV of local Industrial Construction & Engineering Co. and Italy's Fincimic and Carlo Gavazzi Impianti did the construction work under a contract awarded in Oct. 1999.

Alexandria Special Petroleum Products Co. (ASPPC), another JV affiliate set up by APC in 1998, has a plant at the Mex complex producing engine grease, petroleum jelly and bitumens. The main contractor, which bid about $40m for the job in June 1999, is Tecnicas Reunidas of Spain.

APC is the main shareholder in ASPPC, with an equity of 30%. The other partners include local banks and insurance companies, as in the case of AMOC and most of APC's new affiliates.

Ameriya refinery near Alexandria is run by EGPC's Ameriya Oil Refining Co. (AORC). It came on stream in Aug. 1972 with a capacity of 50,000 b/d. It has a 1.6m t/y distillation unit and facilities for the manufacture of 750,000 t/y of asphalt, 80,000 t/y of kerosine and 69,000 t/y of lube oils. Since then several units have been added to the plant, increasing its capacity to 75,000 b/d. These include a 1.7m t/y distillation unit using the Technoexport process, a 750,000 t/y vacuum distillation unit, a kerosine desulphuriser, an 80,000 t/y lube oil hydrotreater, a gasoil hydrotreater and a distillate hydrotreater - all using the process developed by IFP. In recent years the capacity of the alkyl-benzene unit was expanded to 50,000 t/y, with the process licenced by UOP.

A new 215,000 b/d condensate refining unit was installed at the plant in late 1999 to produce light fuels. The condensates come from a 550 MCF/d gas processing plant at Ameriya. Another plant at the complex completed in 2000 is an isomerisation unit producing high octane unleaded gasoline, as part of government efforts to reduce air pollution in urban centres like Cairo and Alexandria. Another unit installed at Ameriya improves the quality of gasoil produced from Western Desert crude oils.

Ameriya has a 150,000 t/y lube oil blending plant. On stream since Feb. 1996, it can produce 135 different types of lubricating oil, with a surplus being exported. The plant receives 80% of its base stocks from local suppliers. The other 20% consists of imported lube oils. The complex's infrastructure includes a 1.5 km, 10-inch pipeline carrying imported lube oils from the port of Alexandria, a storage farm near that of APC's Mex refinery, and two four-inch pipelines carrying base oil feedstocks from the APC Mex complex.

Nasr Refinery at Suez, operated by EGPC unit Nasr Petroleum Co. (NPC), was built by Anglo-Egyptian Oilfields and came on stream in 1913. The oldest refinery in Africa, it now has a capacity of 146,300 b/d. Expensive upgrading units are being installed at the complex as separate ventures in partnership with the private sector.

The plant was shut down due to damages sustained in the 1967 war. It was reopened partially in Oct. 1974 as a 2,800 b/d unit was resumed. A second unit, 28,000 b/d, came back on stream in Nov. 1974 and gradually NPC's capacity was restored to 50,000 b/d. In 1990 a new 50,000 b/d distillation unit came on stream. The unit has facilities for vapour recovery, caustic washing of LPG and stabilised naphtha. The refinery was debottlenecked in recent years and its capacity reached 146,300 b/d.

Wadi Feiran Refinery, run by NPC, is a small topping and reforming plant with a distillation capacity of 10,000 b/d. It is located in the Sinai Peninsula.

A new 129,000-150,000 b/d refinery adjacent to the Nasr plant has been proposed. A consortium of EGPC and local investors in Nov. 2003 contracted Jacobs Consulting of the US to do a feasibility study for the plant. Nasr refinery would provide feedstock to the plant through a short pipeline.

Misr Oil Processing Co. (MOPCo), set up in early 1998, is one of EGPC's JVs. It was the first to make an IPO in Egypt's oil sector on July 5, 1998, when it issued for sale 30% of its capital of about $88m. Investors bought 35.7m shares at 10 pounds ($2.40) each. But because of a long delay in getting a hydrocracker project at the refinery underway, MOPCo in Oct. 2001 decided to reimburse the shareholders. The funds were disbursed at the end of December 2001. The shareholders included the public, National Bank of Egypt, Bank of Alexandria, Banque Misr, Banque du Caire, Nasser Social Bank, Misr Insurance Co., Commercial Int'l Investment Co. and Commercial Int'l Bank.

MOPCo is determined to have the hydrocracker built to turn 35,000 b/d of heavy fuel oil surpluses at EGPC refineries into high quality diesel, kerosine, jet fuel, butane and light naphtha. The main contractor was SnamProgetti which got the $449m job in May 1999. A new financing proposal for the project has been made.

MOPCo is having a CCR built beside the site of the hydrocracker, for which UOP has provided the licence and basic designs under a contract signed in Oct. 1998. The CCR is to turn 800,000 t/y of surplus naphtha into high octane unleaded gasoline. The $400m project will include facilities for naphtha hydrotreating and isomerisation.

Suez Refinery, the second oldest plant in the country which came on stream in 1921, is run by EGPC unit Suez Petroleum Processing Co. (SPPC). It processes government royalty crude oils. Its capacity was increased from 18,000 b/d to 58,000 b/d in 1986 with a 40,000 b/d distillation unit. Improvements to the refinery were made in 1983, when a catalyst-reforming unit came on stream enabling production of higher quality super benzene. Soon afterwards a decoking unit started producing mid-distillates (kerosine & gasoil/diesel) for the local market and coke for power stations. Subsequently a 40,000 t/y lube oil recycling plant was built at the plant. Now the refinery's capacity is 68,000 b/d. The plant has a small hydrogen unit. Two 100-ton boilers and a water treater have been installed to raise the rate of vapour generation.

Asyut Refinery, in Upper Egypt, is run by EGPC unit Asyut Oil Refining Co. It was built in 1987 by ENPPI and Petrojet for $350m and has a capacity of 50,000 b/d. For local consumption, the refinery can produce 35,000 t/y of gasoline, 325,000 t/y of kerosine, 325,000 t/y of gasoil, 1.4m t/y of fuel oil and 25,000 t/y of LPG.
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Publication:APS Review Downstream Trends
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Jan 12, 2004
Previous Article:OMAN - Preparing For Post-Oil Era.
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