Laffan Refinery Starts Production

Doha, Qatar – 26 September 2009: Qatargas has started production from the Laffan Refinery, the first condensate refinery in Qatar. The refinery’s production reached commercial quantities and specifications on 23 September for all products.

The new refinery has a total processing capacity of 146,000 barrels per stream day (BPSD). It consists of process units including utility systems, distillation units, naphtha and kerosene hydrotreaters, a hydrogen unit and a saturated gas plant producing naphtha, kerojet, gasoil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Mr. Faisal M. Al Suwaidi, CEO and Chairman of Board of Directors of Qatargas Operating Company, said: “The Laffan Refinery brings together a number of effective technologies and synergies from multiple ventures. The refinery adds value for end customers as well as the State of Qatar. This start-up represents a historic milestone for Qatar and Qatargas especially as this is the first time some of these technologies are being used in the country.”

“We have also focused on safety at the refinery and implemented critical safety systems throughout the construction phase. The same Qatargas safety philosophy has also been applied in the commissioning and start-up phases as well. We are aiming for safe and stable operations,” said Mr. Al Suwaidi.

The Laffan Refinery is a key part of the strategic vision for Qatar as it will process and add value to the field condensate produced from the Qatargas and RasGas facilities.  The condensate will be refined and turned into products such as naphtha, kerojet (otherwise known as jet fuel) and gasoil.

The refinery’s production capacity will be 61,000 bpsd of naphtha, 52,000 bpsd of kerojet, 24,000 bpsd of gasoil, and 9,000 bpsd of LPG.

From inception, the refinery has been planned as an environmentally friendly facility and it has been built in line with stringent environmental standards to reflect this concept in every detail.

One of such systems is the gas recovery system which captures and compresses gases generated during normal operations and recycles them as fuel gas. Furthermore, the refinery’s waste water treatment system enables reuse of treated water in various operations of the refinery. Under this system, as much as 40 per cent of the effluent water is treated with the overall treatment capacity of the plant being 40 cubic meters per hour.  Emission levels at the refinery are also low because of advanced environment control programmes introduced within the facility that meet European Union standards.

Salman Ashkanani, Venture Manager, Laffan Refinery said, “Like all Qatargas projects, the Laffan Refinery has also embraced the “Incident and Injury Free” approach from day one.  The excellent safety performance demonstrated by the project throughout the construction, commissioning and start up phases reflect our commitment to safety.  One of the unique aspects of the start-up was the combined involvement of people from the Commissioning, Start-Up, Expansion Start-up, and Project teams who brought with them different areas of expertise, ensuring a flawless and safe start-up for the refinery.  Our focus now is on the safe and reliable long term operation of the refinery.”

In terms of manpower, it was a challenging task to recruit highly skilled people from different parts of the world to build and operate the refinery. Some 30 different nationalities are represented in the construction and operations workforce. For the operations personnel an advanced competency development programme has been completed and involved extensive class-room and simulator training as well as simultaneous on-the-job training.

The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor for this project was a consortium of GS Engineering & Construction Corporation and Daewoo Engineering & Construction Company who were awarded the contract in May 2005. The plant foundation stone was laid in April 2006 by His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Heir Apparent.

Qatargas operates the refinery on behalf of the shareholders: Qatar Petroleum (51 per cent), Total (10 per cent), ExxonMobil (10 per cent), Cosmo (10 per cent), Idemitsu (10 per cent), Mitsui (4.5 per cent) and Marubeni (4.5 per cent).