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SYRIA - The Refineries.

With a total capacity of 245,000 b/d, the two refineries process both heavy and light crudes. Before the Al Thayyem field came on stream, the light crude had to be imported from Iraq until 1982, and from Iran at discounted rates between 1982 and 1987. Throughputs at these plants include 60,000 b/d of heavy Suwaidiyah crudes produced by the state's Syrian Petroleum Co. (SPC).

In recent years, the refineries had been operated at capacity to maximise production of middle distillates. Large volumes of gasoil/diesel had to be imported to meet domestic requirements until early 1994, when the catalytic cracker began operating at Banias refinery.

Homs refinery is the older of the two refineries and is operated by the Homs Refinery Co. It came on stream in 1959 with a capacity of 20,000 b/d. The plant was originally designed to process equal amounts of heavy Suwaidiyah crude and Iraqi Kirkuk or other light oil. As from 1988, it has been supplied with light crude from the oilfields at Deir Ez Zor. During the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the plant was hit and partly destroyed. Rebuilding and expansion of the plant lasted more than a decade, raising capacity to its present level of almost 105,000 b/d.

The last phase of expansion, costing $143m, began in 1983 and included a 100,000 t/y isomerisation unit, a 480,000 t/y hydrogenation plant to treat naphtha, another 370,000 t/y hydrogenation unit to treat fuel oil, a 380,000 t/y catalytic reformer to treat gasoline, a 148 tons/day sulphur recovery unit (in addition to one already at the plant) and a 66 MW power station. Built by Technoexport of former Czechoslovakia, all units were completed in May 1989. In late 1989, the furnaces at this refinery were converted to gas from fuel oil. They consumed 200,000 cubic metres/day of gas supplied from the treatment plant in Jibeissah transported via the Jibeissah-Homs pipeline. Upgrading plans at this refinery include the installation of a 40,000 b/d partial conversion hydrocracker, but the project is yet to be implemented.

Banias refinery, built by Industrialexport of Romania, came on stream in late 1980 after an official inauguration in August 1979. Its last upgrade was completed in January 1994, when a new catalytic cracking unit and a hydrotreater started operating. With a capacity of 140,000 b/d, the plant was designed to process a varied mix of crudes, ranging from 100% Iranian Light to half proportions of heavy Syrian and Kirkuk grades. Upgrading projects for the refinery include another catalytic cracker with a capacity of 28,000 b/d, down from the originally planned 34,000 b/d. Beicip prepared the bid documents for the construction contract, tendered in 1996 but yet to be awarded.

The catalytic cracking unit and 25,000 b/d hydrotreater which came on stream in 1994 were recommended in UOP's 1992 study. The hydrotreater, designed by UOP and built by Industrialexport, helped improve the quality of vacuum gasoil (VGO) produced at Banias, reducing its sulphur level from 1.5% to 0.2%. It often achieves a 0.1% sulphur level. Gasoil/diesel output was raised as the new catalytic cracker came on stream and helped cut gasoil imports to 120,000 t/y from 400,000 t/y. But Syrian demand for gasoil/diesel has since risen sharply and in 2000 imports are expected to reach 1m tons. The refinery also has an output of 48,000 t/y of naphtha, 28,000 t/y of LPG and 920,000 t/y of hydrogenated oil.
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Title Annotation:International Pages
Publication:APS Review Downstream Trends
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7SYRI
Date:Mar 13, 2000
Previous Article:SYRIA - The Refining Sector.
Next Article:SYRIA - The Fertiliser Sector.

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