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Mid May construction and maintenance news: Middle East, USA and South America

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Middle East


The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) has returned to operation a catalytic refining unit at its Baku refinery following repairs. According to a report, these repairs included the replacement of a hydrogen compressor.


It has been announced that Iran will establish six oil refineries in Africa. According to Hassan Khosrojerdi, Chairman of the Union of Iranian Exporters of oil derivatives, Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed with six African countries and preliminary steps have been taken towards finding appropriate locations for the refineries.

These refineries are projected to have 20 000 bpd of capacity.

Also in Iran:

The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) has announced that the country’s refining capacity will climb to one billion m3/d in two years time. Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister, Javad Owji, has estimated that the country’s natural gas exports will increase to nearly 100 million m3 per day by the end of the current Iranian year.

The construction of the Persian Gulf Star refinery has reached 65% completion. The refinery is projected to produce 36 million l of gasoline and 14 million l of diesel oil. US$ 1.5 billion is required to complete the project.

Saudi Arabia

The Higher Committee for Environmental Protection (HCEP) in Riyadh has closed down 35 unlicensed facilities for oil refining in the region. Negative impact of waste on the environment, in addition to the violation of regulations, was cited as a reason for the closures.

HCEP also granted a grace period to other deviant factories, allowing them three months in which to rectify irregularities contrary to licensing requirements. Air pollution, as a result of emissions from oil refining, a lack of regular licenses, and production of hazardous waste by use of primitive techniques were among the issues raised. Unsafe waste disposal was also a problem, with some refineries discharging petroleum products in the sewerage network.


Qatar has awarded the contract to build the US$ 1.5 billion Laffan 2 refinery to a joint venture of Japan’s Chiyoda Corporation and Taiwan’s CTCI Corporation.

South America


EcoPetrol has approved additional spending of approximately US$ 500 million on its planned upgrade to the Cartagena refinery. Total estimated costs are US$ 6.5 billion.

The project is now nearing its end, having reached 80% completion.



The city of Richmond wishes to file a lawsuit against Chevron Corp after the August 2012 refinery fire that sent 15 000 residents to area hospitals. The city is looking to hire San Francisco based firm Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy LLP, the same law firm that represented San Bruno residents in litigation against Pacific Gas & Electric for a gas line rupture and explosion in 2010. 

The firm also filed, in late March, a class action lawsuit against Chevron, accusing the company of defrauding royalties’ owners.

Also in California, Phillips 66 plans to flare gas at its Wilmington refinery.


Alon Energy USA will begin receiving cut price inland US crude by rail at its Louisiana refinery next month, when the company completes a project for the refurbishment of the offloading facility there.

The Krotz Springs refinery will receive 6000 bpd of crude by rail. The facility can handle 14 000 bpd, however limitations in railroad operations and railcar availability place restrictions upon supply. The company has announced that it is working to overcome these limitations.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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