Scheduled maintenance starts at Baku Oil Refinery

7 October 2019 11:38 (UTC+04:00)

By Leman Mammadova

Heydar Aliyev Baku Oil Refinery, which processes 21 out of 24 grades of Azerbaijani crude oil and 15 different petroleum products, is being modernized and reconstructed. The modernization program will help SOCAR to remain among the most advanced refiners in the region, further improving the environmental protection and the quality of life in Azerbaijan.

As of October 4, 2019, SOCAR stopped the work of the Baku Oil Refinery named after Heydar Aliyev for scheduled maintenance, Ibrahim Ahmadov, Deputy Head of the Public Relations Department at SOCAR, told local media.

“SOCAR annually suspends the Refinery’s work for scheduled maintenance. This year, the work of the plant for scheduled maintenance is stopped for the period from October 4 to October 24,” he said.

“In this case, first of all, the operation of the unit for primary oil refining (ELOU-AVT-6-IF) has been stopped. Then maintenance of other plants for the production of intermediate petroleum products will begin,” he added.

In his words, the primary refining unit ELOU-AVT-2, located on the territory of the former Azerneftyag refinery, will continue its work. Diesel and kerosene will be produced here.

Ahmadov stressed that the internal demand for diesel will be provided due to the balance available at the Refinery warehouses and due to the operation of the ELOU-AVT-2 installation.

He further said that regarding stop for maintenance work at the Baku Oil Refinery, the work of chemical enterprises of the Azerikimya Production Union, which receives raw materials from the Refinery, has also stopped.

He also noted that the Refinery processed more than 4.17 million tons of crude oil in January-August 2019, which is 20,000 tons higher than the target.

“Along with scheduled maintenance, modernization and reconstruction work is underway at the Refinery. As you know, this project is divided into two packages: the construction of new plants (package A) and the modernization of existing ones (package B). The bulk of the work accounts for package A, which in general has already been completed by 56 percent,” he added.

As Baku Oil Refinery is simultaneously carrying out modernization works aimed at producing better fuel, the maintenance period is also lengthening. In this regard, there is an annual need for temporary import of gasoline from abroad. Baku Oil Refinery produces only AI-92 gasoline.

Ahmadov pointed out that SOCAR plans to import 120,000 tons of AI-92 motor gasoline from Russia and Black Sea countries, due to the stop for the scheduled maintenance at the Baku Oil Refinery.

“In particular, 60,000 tons of fuel will be imported from Russia, the remaining 60,000 tons will be imported from the countries of the Black Sea basin,” he said.

“However, as the practice of past years shows, the actual volume of imports can be significantly lower than planned.

SOCAR plans to complete reconstruction and modernization works at Heydar Aliyev Baku Oil Refinery at the end of 2024 or in 2025. The annual processing capacity of the oil refinery will reach 7.5 million tons in 2025.

The cost of the project of refinery’s reconstruction is estimated at about $2.2 billion.

Heydar Aliyev Baku Oil Refinery includes such high technology equipment as the ED-AV-6 unit (placed in service in 1976) for initial oil refining, a catalytic reforming unit (1980), a gradual coking unit (1986), and a catalytic cracker (1993).

The plant's most important units are the initial refining unit, the ED-AV-6 electric desalter, and the fuel oil vacuum distiller. In order to improve the quality of its petroleum products to meet international standards, technology for cleaning the fuel with alkali and producing naphthenic acid feedstock was acquired under licenses from the Merichem Company of the U.S.

The refinery meets the country’s entire demand for petroleum products, while 45 percent of its petroleum products are exported. After modernization, the Refinery will produce 2.2 million tons per year of motor gas instead of the current 1.2 million tons, diesel fuel - 2.9 million tons per year instead of the current 1.9 million tons, jet fuel - 1 million tons instead of the current 600,000 tons, petrochemical products – 390,000 tons instead of the current 112,000 tons.

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Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888

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