About the company: Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery which is the largest and advanced manufacturing firm of Azerbaijan was founded on July 29, 1953. The main processing route of the refinery started working in 1976 when the 6MT/year capacity ELOU-AVT-6 crude distillation plant was commissioned. The catalytic reformer designed for production of high-octane petroleum was built at the refinery in 1980. The refining capacity reached 1 mln tonnes. A delayed coking unit and catalytic cracking unit Q-43-107M were commissioned in the refinery in 1986 and 1993 respectively. Nowadays, the Oil Refinery fully meets Azerbaijan needs in oil products by means of its units and also exports them. Considering All-National Leader’s significant role in the history and development of the Oil Refinery the plant has been named after Heydar Aliyev since 2004.
Caspian Energy (CE): Mr. Ismayilov, a number of contracts has been signed within the framework of reconstruction of the Heydar Aliyev oil refinery. What kind of work will be carried out at the refinery?
Elman Ismayilov, Director, Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery: The major goal of the reconstruction of the Heydar Aliyev refinery is to supply the country with oil products, meeting Euro-5 standards, until the construction of the new petrochemical complex in Garadagh district. Within the framework of reconstruction the operations will be performed in two directions which imply upgrading of existing units and construction of new ones.
First of all, as you know, after completion of upgrading, the output of the crude oil distillation unit ELOU-AVT and catalytic cracking unit will increase from 6 up to 7.5 mln tonnes and 2 up to 2.5 mln tonnes per year respectively. The purpose of the first stage is to have new units built within 5-6 years, which will be able to perform functions of those of Azerneftyagh Oil Refinery linked to our plant.
The units, placed in our management, currently keep operating. However, their operation will be halted after completion of modernization and construction of new units at Heydar Aliyev oil refinery.
One of such facilities is a bitumen plant. The contract on construction of this facility has already been signed. The construction site has been prepared. Geodesic operations are currently underway. The execution of the project will be commenced in near future. The purpose is to launch a bitumen unit until 2018.
The production capacity of the new unit will be higher than the one which is currently operating. If the output of the old unit makes 250,000 tonnes per year, the new one will produce 400,000 tonnes per year.
Then, there will be another stage which consists of two parts. We call it a diesel stage. This stage envisages establishment of diesel production meeting Euro-5 standards.
In parallel, a bitumen plant will be built, upgrading of ELOU-AVT and catalytic cracking units that I have mentioned above will be carried out.
The second stage is called a gasoline phase. Once completed, the produced petrol will meet euro-5 standards. New units will be built within the framework of this stage. One of such units is designed for production of methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (MTBE) which will increase the volume of octane. It will be produced out liquid gas.
Moreover, an isomerization plant will be built. It will be help to increase an octane grade by isomerizing gasoline’s light fracture obtained at crude oil distillation unit. The purpose is to produce gasoline in compliance with Euro-5 standard.
Both stages must be completed till 2022. Thus, the plant will be fully upgraded for production of oil products in compliance with modern standards of quality.
CE: Will the new unit have new staff?
Elman Ismayilov: Training of human resources is another important issue for us. We have been ordered to recruit and train human resources for new units. About 8 new units will be built at the plant. Accordingly, human resources have to be trained for their management.
The work in this direction is currently underway as well. Apart from this, a decision to use young human resources o the Azerneftyagh oil refinery linked to our plant. No one will remain without a work. All employees will be provided with work.
CE: You spoke about 8 new units, what other units will be built at this facility?
Elman Ismayilov: In general, the following units are to be built at the plant: bitumen unit, distillate hydrotreatment unit, isomerization unit, MTBE unit, merox treating unit, monoethanol amine based gas sweetening unit, hydrotreater for heavy gasoline produced at catalytic cracking unit because Euro-5 standard has touch requirements for impurities including sulfur content.
Catalytic cracking unit splits gasoline in two parts. Heavy gasoline undergoes hydro-treatment. Besides, a unit for hydrogen production will be built because the demand for hydrogen is rising with the increase of hydrotreaters. Hydrogen gas which is currently produced at catalytic cracking unit will not suffice for all units.
There is also a plan to build a water desalting unit – it is important in the process of steam production upon excessive heat emission.
monoethanol amine based gas sweetening unit will also be built. There is already a raw material supplied to Azerkimya PU. In future it should fully comply with units which will also undergo upgrading. Dry gas is now supplied to Azerkimya as a raw material.
CE: Will we be able to start export after completion of reconstruction?
Elman Ismayilov: Of course. Our goal is to export oil products with high value added. Now we are exporting up to 35% of products. Basically, they are exported to the Black Sea countries. In general, up to 60 countries receive our products including USA and Argentine.
CE: How will the environmental situation change?
Elman Ismayilov: There will be a 5-6 time difference after the production of oil products meeting euro-5 standard. Sulfur content now totals 250ppm in accordance with standards while in euro-5 it will make 10ppm. Same deal with diesel fuel.
As far as flares are concerned, there is no production without flares in the world. Even the most modern petrochemical units should have a flare system. But no one will burn produced products on flares. Now we have nothing burnt on flares. The flare system is used for avoiding problems upon the emergency discharge.
CE: When will the supply of equipment within the framework of already signed modernization contracts started?
Elman Ismayilov: We will be ready for this stage by the end of the year. Initial detailed engineering is currently underway. All the schemes will be ready by the end of the year whereupon equipment is ordered for units during the detailed engineering.
As a result of researches held for production of high quality gasoline, UOP, which has an advanced world experience, was selected by SOCAR as a licensor of units of the refinery, including petroleum coke hydrotreater, catalytic cracking unit, isomerization plant, methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (MTBE) production, sour oxidation of unsaturated liquefied gas as well as amine treatment and oxidation of sulphides.
Apart from this, contracts on reconstruction of the Heydar Aliyev oil refinery have been signed with the Austrian Poerner, French Azens and other companies.
CE: What have been the main economic performance figures of the refinery this year?
Elman Ismayilov: All operating processes of the catalytic cracking, delayed coking plants and other sections of the refinery have already been computerized. Overall renovation has been carried out at workshops and production sites. All necessary conditions have been created for employees. All safety regulations, quality of products and ecological requirements meet international standards at the refinery.
According to the outcomes of the first quarter of 2015, the management and the staff of the refinery have successfully fulfilled all the tasks and assignments of SOCAR. As the result, high performance indicators were fixed in implementation of the production program owing to maximal use of human and technical resources.
The refinery processed 6531.6 thousand tonnes of crude in 2015. Of this total, 6478.9 thousand tonnes and 146.6 thousand tonnes fell to the share of oil and external semi-finished products respectively. External semi-finished products included 30.9 thou tonnes of natural gas gasoline of Garadagh GPP, 21.7 thou of pyrolysis resin of Azerkimya PU and 0.1 thou tonnes of mix of different oil products.
Owing to optimization of work related to the operation of the refinery and rational usage of capacities of processing units, especially catalytic cracking and delayed coking processes units that refer to reprocessing, created were conditions for production of more expensive oil products out of cheaper resources of heavy and light fuel oil components obtained during refining.
We increased the processing depth up to 91.5% in 2015.. This indicator was achieved owing to the optimization of operation of processing units, especially due to the growth of efficiency of oil recycling units (catalytic cracking and delayed coking).
The Refinery produced 1223.9 thou tonnes of petrol, 2741.7 thou tonnes of jet engine fuel and diesel fuel, 157.6 thou tonnes of liquid gas, 254.8 thou tonnes of oil coke, 171.8 thou tonnes of bitumen, 63.6 thou tonnes of DT and A engine fuel, 24.6 thou tonnes of different lubricant products, 195.3 thou tonnes of hydrotreated gasoline for chemical industry, 64.9 thou tonnes of dry gas, 319 thou tonnes of furnace oil for Azerenerji and other organizations, and other oil products. In general, commercial products worth 1 bln 883.4 mln AZN were produced in 2015. 36.5% of products produced at the refinery have been exported.
Interview made by Jeyhun Bayramov, Emil Mammadov