Ras Tanura Refinery Clean Fuels Project has put its heaviest and largest piece of equipment in place — a naphtha splitter column weighing 544 tons.
After six weeks of site preparation and crane positioning, it took only three hours to complete the lift of the 65-meter high column, which has a diameter of eight metres.
For the lift, a 1,600 ton main crane was utilised together with a tailing crane with a total nominal capacity of 600 tons.
The column required extensive transport coordination during its route to the site, including disconnecting several overhead power cables to allow for safe passage and modifying the Jubail-Dhahran highway to avoid bridges. The journey was alternated between day and night to minimise disruptions. It took three weeks from source to site, with more than 10 stops along the way.
The column is the main feeder to the new world’s largest Continuous Catalytic Reforming (CCR) and Isomerization Units, with a total operating capacity of 90,000 and 65,000 barrels per day, respectively.
The main function of the naphtha splitter column is to split the hydrotreated naphtha into light and heavy naphtha, which is a key function to the Naphtha Hydrotreating Unit, as it controls the benzene precursors, which are then sent to the Isomerization Unit.
The objective is to prepare the feeds to downstream units to meet the acceptable level of the impurities in the feed to the new CCR and Isomerization Units.
The splitter column has been awarded to a local manufacturing company in Jubail as part of the iktva program, which is targeting 70 per cent localisation by 2021. The complete manufacturing of the column took more than a year, with more than 2,500 safe working hours recorded.
The project will provide facilities to support Saudi Aramco’s objective of effectively supplying diesel and gasoline products that comply with the future Saudi Aramco gasoline and diesel quality specifications, as per Euro-V fuels quality standards. The new naphtha complex plants that will be installed as part of the project at the refinery, are comprised of a 138 MBD naphtha hydrotreater, a 90 MBD CCR Unit, and a 65 MBD Isomerization Unit.