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Tanura Refinery's new 200,000-barrel-per-day condensate distillation plant Inaugurated

Source: 10/8/2003, Location: Middle East

RAS TANURA, October 08, 2003 -- President and CEO Abdallah S. Jum'ah, attending the recent inauguration of Ras Tanura Refinery's new 200,000-barrel-per-day condensate distillation plant, said company workers who participated in the project - veterans and young Saudi employees alike - are a source of great pride for Saudi Aramco.

Jum'ah said the new plant's commissioning demonstrates the world-class quality of Saudi Aramco's workforce, and the company's continuing commitment to energetic human-resource development as well as to accommodating the demands of the international oil market.

Khalid G. Al-Buainain, vice president of Refining, inaugurated the facility Tuesday with a speech commending all departments that contributed to the success of the expansion, which he said made Ras Tanura Refinery one of the top product producers in the Middle East.

Al-Buainain noted that the project was completed in record time and without disabling injuries, and he praised the perseverance, coordination and team spirit of a number of key departments, including Northern Area Projects, Refinery Operations, Loss Prevention, Fire Prevention, Inspection and Refinery Maintenance. Gifts were presented to key participants.

Accompanying Jum'ah on the tour of the plant, designated J64, was Abdulaziz F. Al-Khayyal, senior vice president of Refining, Marketing and International.

Ras Tanura Refinery's new 200,000-barrel-per-day condensate distillation plant makes the refinery one of the top producers in the Middle East. A lot of people contributed to the plant's success. Some of them were honored this week. The new fractionation facility processes gas condensate - a natural mixture of very light crude oil and gas - which yields a large proportion of high-value "white" products, such as diesel, naphtha and kerosene.

The new plant, which became fully operational on Aug. 15, has increased Ras Tanura Refinery's distillation capacity from 325,000 bpd to 525,000 bpd of crude oil and condensate. Work on the project began in April 2001.

A number of young employees were involved in key aspects of the project from the beginning.

Maintenance engineer Hussam Al-Dashash was involved when first studies, designs and engineering drawings were under way in Milan, Italy (general contractor was Snamprogetti ENI Group). "I have benefited a great deal from reviewing the preliminary designs for the project, especially with the availability of the three-dimensional engineering drawings, which facilitated the review process and helped us to avoid mistakes in installing equipment in narrow, hard-to-reach spaces," Al-Dashash said.

Abdullah Al-Marzooq and Zaki Al-Misarri, who work as technicians on delicate instrumentation, said the plant is equipped with cutting-edge control systems that they had to study and fully understand in order to maintain them in the future. Expertise of design engineers during construction brought them up to speed on the instrumentation, they said.

Operations foreman Saleh Al-Zahrani said pre-construction orientation helped the project avoid many initial operational problems. Several Ras Tanura Refinery operators experienced in oil distillation were sent for two weeks of training at regional refineries that have similar fractionation facilities.

The plant has many interesting capabilities:
- Sensitive equipment measures outside atmospheric conditions that can affect plant productivity.
- Each computer in the plant's control system includes drawings and photographs of equipment to provide support in cases of malfunction.
- Control system also can provide diagrams of the status of production.
- Four observation cameras are monitored in the control room.

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