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The Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery: Reconstruction and Modernization

The Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery was established in 1953 and is now the largest and the most innovative challenger in the fuel production sector of Azerbaijan. In 2004 the refinery was named after National Leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev to mark its 50th anniversary.

The Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery, which produces petrol, aviation kerosene, diesel fuel, petroleum coke and fuel oil, meets a lion’s share of the domestic demand, while exporting 45% of its products abroad.

To increase the production capacity of the refinery, optimise current costs, bring the quality of oil products to EURO-5 standard, and to meet the needs of Azerkimya PU in primary products, the refinery is currently undergoing reconstruction and modernization operations; this project is motivated by a high demand in local and international markets and will increase the annual primary processing capacity of the Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery from 6MM tons to 7.5MM tons, while increasing the production capacity of the catalytic cracking unit from 2MM tons to 2.5MM tons per year.

The phased project includes the installation of new and reconstruction of some old facilities, along with the modernization of engineering utilities. In the first phase, a new bitumen plant was built, and the annual production capacity of high-quality 40/60 PEN bitumen was increased from 250K tons to 400K tons, fully meeting the domestic demand. Note that bitumen is used in the construction of buildings, roads and pipes, as well as in the production of asphalt, paint, lacquer and cable.

The completion of the first phase allowed the refinery to supply Azerikimya’s Steam Cracking Plant with raw materials, thanks to which SOCAR’s polymer plants can now produce ethylene and propylene with more efficiency. In addition, a new liquefied gas (LPG) filling station consisting of 7 tankers and 5 tanks has been fully commissioned. Thanks to these tanks, yearly volumes of 180K tons of propane-propylene and 100K tons of liquefied gas can be transported using rail tank cars, while 178K tons of butane-butylene fractions can be exported via pipelines or rail tank cars per year.

The next stage of this reconstruction and modernization project is to bring its diesel fuel and petrol fuel production to EURO-5 standards. New facilities are being installed in order to increase the quality and productivity of both fuels. In total, 19 new units (hydrogen enrichment, diesel hydro-treating, hydrogen production, isomerization, naphtha separator, demineralized water and condensate recovery, boiler water and steam production, sulphur production, sour water treatment, C4 hydrogenation, methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE) production, waste water treatment, nitrogen production, catalytic cracking petrol hydro-treatment, amine regeneration, liquid gas pre-treatment, liquid gas treatment facilities with an alkaline solution, liquid gases park and a cooling water tower) were built and will shortly be commissioned.

After the current stage of modernization is over, 22 main technological facilities will operate at the refinery. More than half (70%) of all the refinery facilities and current infrastructure will be completely modernised. In addition, the negative impact on the environment will be reduced as a result of the construction of a sewage treatment plant and a new flare system. The construction and commissioning of a new laboratory, power substations, pipelines, cable lines and a fleet of tanks will be carried out within the current phase.

Full implementation of the project will meet Azerbaijan’s fuel needs over the next 15-20 years, increasing its export potential and optimising the refinery’s operational expenses (OPEX). There will be a number of positive aspects related to the environment, and after the transition to EURO-5 standard, car and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced to a significant extent.