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BAPCO undertakes multi-billion dollar refinery project in Sitra, Bahrain

Sep 30, 2019
4 min read
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The Bahrain Petroleuem Company (Bapco), operates a 267,000 BPD crude refinery in Sitra, Bahrain and is currently undertaking a multi-billion dollar refinery Modernisation Programme (BMP) which is the largest capital investment project in Bapco’s 90-year history and one of the largest capital projects in the Kingdom of Bahrain’s history.

Mark Jones, the company’s superintendent for hydro-treating and thermal processes in the Technical Services Department explained how the project will benefit Bapco and the Kingdom of Bahrain. Increasing crude refining capacity, improving the product slate, increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions are all objectives in upgrading the operations of the refinery.

Jones stated that the refinery will become one of the most efficient in the region when the BMP is completed. He said “It will increase the crude refining capacity by 42 per cent, from 267,000 to 380,000 BPD; improve the product slate by reducing fuel oil and increasing middle distillate production; significantly improve energy efficiency and reduce environmental emissions.

“Bapco will become one of the most competitive and environmentally compliant refineries in the region. Installation of the first ebullating bed residue hydrocracking unit in the region, converting vacuum residue to distillate, will form the cornerstone of the expansion.

“As of August 2019, we are 17 months into the EPC phase of the project, which is progressing well with all the long lead equipment items having been ordered. Our teams are continuing to work alongside personnel from our PMC Consultant , Worley-Parsons and the three EPC contractors TechnipFMC in Rome, Tecnicas Reunidas in Madrid and Samsung Engineering in Seoul, to ensure a successful completion of the EP part of the project.

“Construction started in December 2018 and is continuing in the Greenfield and Brownfield sites. The project is expected to be completed in 2022.”

New equipment will include a Crude-Vacuum unit, Gas Oil Hydrocracker, Diesel Hydrotreater, Hydrogen Production units and Sulphur units. The company said that there are also a number of other significant engineering projects underway including enhancement of the refinery firewater protection system, improving the seawater intake filtration system and upgrading the API Separators and No.5 Crude Unit Fired Heater Replacement.

Jones said: “Additionally, in October 2018, the new 112 km crude pipeline between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, with a capacity of 400,000 BPD, was commissioned, replacing the old line which had reached the end of its life.

Bapco is also undertaking an important Initiative termed the Strategic Reliability Project which comprises 96 improvement projects to be implemented across the company, aimed at improving the refinery operational availability to consistently achieve a target of > 97 per cent.” BMP is the company’s major priority – but other potential projects are under consideration for the longer-term future.

Jones said: “The BMP represents an unprecedented challenge for Bapco and Bahrain on many fronts and will demand all our focus to ensure that the units are engineered, constructed, started up and operated efficiently and safely. Other possibilities such as petrochemicals and also further black oil destruction have been cited in the past few years but at this stage are still in viability review phases, since our focus in the short-term and overriding priority is the effective implementation of BMP” BAPCO forms part of the ADIPEC Downstream Technical Committee and Jones, as the Bapco representative, has reviewed and scored the 200+ abstracts submitted by potential presenters as well as met with the other members of the committee and conference organisers in Abu Dhabi, to discuss and finalise the abstracts to be presented, before agreeing on who will co-chair the various conference sessions.

The next stage is a critical review and provision of feedback on the presentations submitted by the people who will deliver presentations in the sessions, three of which Jones will be co-chairing. Jones said he is looking forward to ADIPEC as a platform for discussion and debate.

“I’ll be listening to some of the plenary session speeches, attending the presentations, meeting up again with my colleagues on the Technical Committee and also co-chairing some of the sessions where, hopefully, there should be some lively discussions on topics occupying the thoughts of many in the downstream sector today,” he said.

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