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SAUDI ARABIA - The Riyadh Refinery.

The first phase of a project to upgrade this 140,000 b/d refinery, put on hold in 1993, was revived in January 1997 when the company contracted SNC Lavalin Int'l of Canada as PMC. It was completed in early 2002. A further upgrading of the plant involves installation of a new 45,000 b/d diesel hydrotreater, for which the EPC contract - worth about $165m - was awarded on Aug. 6, 2003 to Technip-Coflexip of France. To be installed by the fourth quarter of 2005, its full production is set for early 2006.

Another 95,000 b/d hydrotreater is to be installed at the Yanbu' refinery. By early 2006, the two plants will switch to lower-sulphur diesel production, as part of a government initiative to improve air qualities in the major cities.

The main contract for the first phase was awarded in August 1997 to McConnell Dowell of New Zealand and Petrocon of the US. They built a new control system which replaced an existing one. The contract was part of a plan which integrated the control systems of the domestic refineries of Riyadh, Yanbu' and Jeddah. The plant has a new isomerisation unit, together with a naphtha desulphurisation unit and a distillate desulphurisation facility.

The refinery came on stream in 1975 with a capacity of 15,000 b/d. This was raised to 20,000 b/d in 1977. Work began in 1977 to raise the capacity to 135,000 b/d in a project completed in 1981. The plant processes Khurais crude oil pumped through a 140 km pipeline. During the Gulf crisis in late 1990 its capacity was raised to 140,000 b/d. This has since become its sustainable capacity after some debottlenecking work.
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Publication:APS Review Downstream Trends
Date:Oct 3, 2005
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