PetroKazakhstan Wraps First Leg Of Shymkent Refinery Revamp

Kazakhstan plagued by oil theft

PetroKazakhstan Oil Products LLP (PKOP), a joint venture of state-owned KazMunaiGas and China National Petroleum Corp., has commissioned a 600,000-tonne/year naphtha isomerization unit as part of the first phase of the long-planned upgrade of its 5.25 million-tpy Shymkent refinery in Kazakhstan.

The unit, which entered operation in late June, completes Phase 1 of the refinery’s two-phase modernization program, PKOP and CNPC said in separate releases.

Designed to enable production of Euro 4 and Euro 5-quality fuels and reduce environmental impacts by enhancing the high-octane gasoline production process to meet the latest requirements set by Kazakhstan law, Phase 1 of the modernization project also included reconstruction of the refinery’s existing diesel hydrotreater as well as construction of a sulfur treatment plant, both of which were completed in 2015, PKOP said.

Currently under implementation, Phase 2 aims to increase the Shymkent refinery’s crude processing capacity to 6 million tpy and includes construction of a grassroots residual fluid catalytic cracking (RFCC) complex at the site, PKOP and CNPC said.

Initiated in 2014, the refinery modernization comes as part of Kazakstan’s plan to increase production of light, high-quality fuels to meet increased domestic demand and help reduce the country’s dependence on foreign fuel imports.

PKOP previously let a contract to China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corp. to provide engineering, procurement, and construction on the modernization project and Technip SA (now TechnipFMC PLC) for front-end engineering design of the RFCC complex, a methyl tertiary butyl ether unit, and other associated units.

By Robert Brelsford 
OGJ Downstream Technology Editor