"Azerikimya" PU: Reconstruction and Modernization

According to the State Programme for the Development of Industry in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2015-2020, which was approved by the Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated the 26th of December 2014, the Ethylene-Polyethylene Plant (EEP) of Azerikimya PU has launched modernise operations at its EP-300 Unit as of 2016. The modernization project had an aim of supplying the new PE and HDPE production facilities built as part of the SOCAR Polymer project in Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park with ethylene, propylene, pure hydrogen (H) and energy carriers according to the relevant QA / QC KPIs.

The primary products used for production at Azerikimya PU are supplied directly from the Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery, SOCAR. The Ethylene-Polyethylene Plant (EEP) of Azerikimya PU in Sumgayit is nestled in the centre of SOCAR’s value chain and forms one of the main and most important links of the chain from the extraction of crude oil to the production of polymers.

As part of the project, the facilities and equipment for various service areas of the plant (instrumentations, electrical, mechanical, technological, etc.) were gradually commissioned, as a result of which the average crude processing volume has increased to 2,500 tons/day. The real production volume of the primary and other products has also increased at the plant. The daily production of primary products has reached 630 tons of ethylene and 550 tons of propylene.

Moreover, new storage facilities, a hydrogen enrichment unit, propane-propylene splitter units, 4 new pyrolysis furnaces, a M-4 turbo-compressor, reactors for selective hydrogenation of ethane-ethylene and propane-propylene fractions (PPFs), a boiler for distillation of methane-hydrogen fraction from ethylene, removal of carbon monoxide from hydrogen in the cold block, and different types of pumps (high speed, closed drain and Tores pumps) were commissioned under the project. Measurement accuracy of DCS / ESD systems and field devices were tested and the facilities and equipment built as part of the upgrade and project were connected to the existing EP-300 unit during the overhaul in September-October 2020; the plant is now operating with high efficiency.

The dry gas treatment facility to remove sulphurous compounds and micro-mixtures is nearing its commissioning phase.

The need to increase the efficiency of the butylene-butadiene (C4) hydrogenation unit with a throughput capacity of 15-25 tons/hour in accordance with the 2020 forecast objectives and production brought about a process for simultaneous operation of the second reactor in the facility. Once the unit becomes operational, there is a plan to obtain about 60 tons of additional ethylene from a daily hydrogenation of 500 tons of technical butane in the refinery. At the same time, a project to hydrogenate the technical butane in the Oil Refinery’s old C3 Unit was developed and is now nearing its commissioning phase.

As the Ethylene-Polyethylene Plant (EEP) will be operated for the next 20 years, the construction of 4 additional sections (towers) in the new Water Cooling Unit (WCU) is being continued to increase the cooling efficiency in the recirculating water system.

At present, the relocation of the High Voltage L-38 Substation to the ethylene production site is underway. The outlook for the new substation is the application of modern digital technology and the use of new generation equipment, while aiming to provide the production sites with a robust power supply.

The construction of a new hydrogen storage facility was completed and is now being prepared for commissioning to address any potential technological problems in the ethylene production that may risk the continuous supply of hydrogen to SOCAR Polymer, and to create an in-plant reserve in cylinders.

SOCAR-Uniper, a joint venture established by SOCAR and Uniper, Germany, continues to implement the project on increasing the energy efficiency from 32 MWh to 65 MWh by installing the Steam Generator Complex at the plant. The installed turbo-generator, in addition to fully meeting the demands for electricity received by Azerikimya PU from the Power Network of Sumgayit, also provides for the transfer of the produced excess electricity to other enterprises of SOCAR and Sumgayit through this substation. As a result of the upgrade operations, the annual productivity of the plant for propylene was increased from 90-100 tons to 187,000 tons, while the annual productivity for ethylene was increased from 100-120,000 tons to 192,000 tons.

Production Before modernization (K tons) Present (K tons)
Propylene 90-100 187
Ethylene 100-120 192

After the reconstruction and modernization operations, the real production volumes of the main products in Azerikimya PU were doubled, and for some products even tripled. As a consequence, SOCAR Polymer plants have now a steady supply of ethylene, propylene, pure hydrogen (H) and energy carriers in sufficient volumes and quantity.