December 2018

HP Top Project Awards

Details on high-impact refining and petrochemical projects presently under construction, as chosen by HP editors and readers

The global hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) continues to expand and modernize to efficiently meet growing demand for energy, transportation fuels and petrochemicals.

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

The global hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) continues to expand and modernize to efficiently meet growing demand for energy, transportation fuels and petrochemicals. At present, the Hydrocarbon Processing Construction Boxscore Database is tracking more than $1.8 T in active projects around the world. These investments include projects that have been announced or are in the planning, engineering or construction phases.

The editors of Hydrocarbon Processing have identified 10 projects that are anticipated to significantly impact the global or regional downstream industries. The winners and nominees of the HP Top Project awards will have a considerable impact on the HPI, whether through capital expenditures (CAPEX), satisfying domestic or regional demand, diversifying product offerings, or the resurgence in refining and/or petrochemical processing capacity. The winners of this prestigious award over the past several years have included:

  • Refining

0  2014—Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co.’s (SATORP’s) Jubail Refinery

0  2015—SOCAR’s Turkey Aegean Refinery (STAR)

0  2016—KNPC’s Clean Fuels Project

0  2017—KNPC’s Al-Zour refinery

  • Petrochemicals

0  2014—Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical’s Sadara Petrochemical Complex

0  2015—Sasol’s Ethane Cracker and Derivatives Complex

0  2016—Dow Chemical’s Oyster Creek Propane Dehydrogenation (PDH) Unit

0  2017—Petronas’ Pengerang Integrated Complex

The 10 projects nominated for 2018 span the globe and represent more than $80 B in total CAPEX. This year’s refining nominees represent more than 1.2 MMbpd of new refining capacity by the early 2020s and a total investment of more than $30 B. The six petrochemical nominees have a total cost of more than $50 B and represent several million tons per year of additional petrochemical production by the early 2020s.

Over the past two months, thousands of Hydrocarbon Processing readers voted online to select the top refining and petrochemical projects of 2018. The following sections present the results of the readers’ poll, along with details of the Top Project winners and the nominees’ projects. 



Within the past several years, Saudi Arabia has added 800,000 bpd of new refining capacity with the startup of the SATORP and YASREF refineries. An additional 400,000 bpd of domestic refining capacity will go online in 2018 when Saudi Aramco’s $7-B Jazan refinery commences operations. The refinery is part of a $20-B plan to develop the industrial city of Jazan, and to also increase economic development in the region and create employment opportunities for Saudis. The Jazan project includes the construction of the world’s largest integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant. The IGCC power plant will use steam from the Jazan refinery’s vacuum residue stream to generate nearly 4,000 MW of electricity. This power will not only supply electricity to the refinery, but also to the city’s residents.

The Jazan refinery will process 400,000 bpd of Arabian Heavy and Arabian Medium crude oil to produce 80,000 bpd of gasoline, 250,000 bpd of ultra-low-sulfur diesel, and more than 1 MMtpy of benzene and paraxylene (PX). The project also includes the construction of a marine terminal on the Red Sea. The new terminal will be built to accommodate very large crude carriers.

KBR was awarded contracts for front-end engineering design (FEED) and project management consulting (PMC) services. The facility will use licensed processing technologies from Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) and Axens. CLG will provide its ISOCRACKING technology for the refinery’s hydrocracking unit, and Axens will provide technology for a naphtha hydrotreater for feedstock purification, continuous catalyst regeneration (CCR) reforming for aromatics production, a C5/C6 isomerization unit to provide high-octane components for gasoline, a gasoil desulfurization hydrotreater, and technology to produce high-purity PX and benzene. Major engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts include:

  • Técnicas Reunidas: Hydrocracker, diesel hydrotreater
  • JGC: Naphtha unit, and benzene and PX plants
  • SK Engineering and Construction: Crude distillation unit (CDU) and vacuum unit
  • Petrofac: Tank farms
  • Hanwha Engineering and Construction: Marine terminal
  • Hyundai Arabia: Sour water stripper unit and amine regeneration unit
  • Hitachi Plant Technologies: Utilities/offsites.

Construction of the refinery began in 2014. The plant is scheduled to be completed in 2018. Once completed, the facility will produce fuels that meet Euro 5 specifications.

Owner/operator: Saudi Aramco / EPC: Hanwha E&C, Hitachi Plant Technologies, Hyundai Arabia, JGC, Petrofac, SK E&C, Técnicas Reunidas / Licensors: Axens, Chevron Lummus Global


To help mitigate finished petroleum product imports, Egypt Refining Co. (ERC) is building the Mostorod refinery. Located near Cairo, the $4-B refinery will produce up to 4.7 MMtpy of refined products once completed by 2019. According to ERC’s managing director, the facility will add 600,000 tpy of jet fuel, 850,000 tpy of gasoline and approximately 2.3 MMtpy of diesel to the domestic market. The facility’s produced fuels will meet Euro 5 specifications. The refinery is being built by a JV consisting of GS Engineering and Construction (GS E&C) and Mitsui.

Owner/operator: Egypt Refining Co. / EPC: GS Engineering & Construction–Mitsui JV / PMC: Worley Parsons


Nigerian business mogul Aliko Dangote plans to construct the largest privately-owned refinery in Africa. The Dangote Industries Ltd. (DIL) integrated complex will be constructed in Lekki, Lagos State, Nigeria, and will include a petrochemical complex and fertilizer facility. The project will be the first of its kind in Nigeria.

The $12-B, 650,000-bpd refinery will include a petrochemical plant that will produce 750,000 tpy of polypropylene (PP), along with a fertilizer plant that will produce 2.8 MMtpy of urea and ammonia for the nation’s agricultural sector. The refinery will produce gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel and slurry to be used as a raw material for carbon black.

The primary objective of the project is to supply the local market and reduce refined fuel imports. Nigeria produces enough crude oil to satisfy demand, but suffers from low domestic refinery utilization rates. This has caused the country to rely on imports to satisfy demand. The new DIL refinery will help mitigate a substantial portion of imports and help satisfy a large portion of domestic demand. EPC services will be supplied by Engineers India Ltd. UOP will provide technology licensing for the refinery and chemical plant. The complex is scheduled to begin operations in late 2019; however, some industry reports peg the completion date to be closer to 2022.

Owner/operator: Dangote Industries Ltd. / EPC: Engineers India Ltd.
Licensor: Honeywell UOP


The 80-Mbpd Phase 1 of the 240,000-bpd refinery project is being developed by the North West Redwater Partnership (NWRP), a 50/50 JV between North West Upgrading and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. The $8.5-B bitumen refinery is in Sturgeon County, 45 km northeast of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The Sturgeon refinery will be the first refinery built in Canada in nearly 30 years.

The facility will convert diluted bitumen into ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel and other high-value products, such as high-quality recycled and manufactured diluents, to replace expensive imports and produce naphtha for high-octane gasoline, low-sulfur vacuum gasoil, and light ends such as butane, propane and ethane. The development of the project is designed to incorporate gasification and carbon capture and storage solutions to limit the refinery’s carbon footprint. The captured CO2 will be transported and used for enhanced oil recovery at previously depleted oil fields in Alberta.

Phase 1 of the 240,000-bpd project is designed to process 80,000 bpd of diluted bitumen. The clear majority of the refinery’s feedstock (75%) will be supplied from the Alberta Petroleum and Marketing Commission, with the remainder originating from Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Phase 1 commercial operations began earlier this year. Engineering and construction services were performed by companies such as Fluor, Técnicas Reunidas, Worley Parsons and PCL. FEED services were performed by Fluor, and major EPC contracts were awarded to McDermott, Técnicas Reunidas, Lurgi AG, Fluor Canada and Jacobs Engineering.

Owner/operator: North West Redwater Partnership
EPC: Técnicas Reunidas, Fluor, McDermott, Jacobs Canada, Lurgi AG



ZapSibNeftekhim, a subsidiary of Russian petrochemical producer Sibur, is developing its integrated ZapSibNeftekhim Petrochemical Complex (ZapSib-2). Located 3 km north of Sibur’s polymer site at Tobolsk, the $9.5-B project, once completed, will be the largest integrated complex to produce polymers in Russia.

The complex will process byproducts of oil and gas extracted from Western Siberian operations and will reduce the need for imports of value-added petrochemical products in Russia. The plant will integrate a steam cracker to produce ethylene, propylene and butane-butylene fraction (BBF), and will include polyethylene (PE) units and a PP unit. The steam cracker will have a processing capacity of 1.5 MMtpy of ethylene, 500,000 tpy of propylene and 100,000 tpy of BBF, along with four units with a total capacity to produce 1.5 MMtpy of various grades of PE and 500,000 tpy of PP.

Most of the onsite preparations have been completed, and major contracts have been awarded. FEED services for the ethylene plant were performed by Linde, while the FEED for the PE and PP units were conducted by Technip and ThyssenKrupp Uhde, respectively. The general design contractor for the project is VNIPIneft, while NIPIgaspererabotka, a subsidiary of Sibur, has been contracted to design the utilities, infrastructure and offsites. Technology licensing contracts were awarded to Linde, INEOS Technologies and LyondellBasell. Linde will provide processing technology for the ethylene plant. INEOS Technologies will provide its proprietary Innovene G and Innovene S processes for the manufacture of linear low-density and high-density PE. The plants will produce the full range of Ziegler monomodal, Ziegler bimodal, chromium and metallocene products for both Russian and export markets. LyondellBasell will provide its Spheripol process technology for the complex’s PP plant.

The complex is expected to begin operations by 2020/2021.

Owner/operator: ZapSibNeftekhim (a subsidiary of Sibur) / FEED: Linde, Technip, ThyssenKrupp
Licensors: Linde, INEOS Technologies, LyondellBasell


ExxonMobil began operations on its world-scale ethane cracker in mid-July. The 1.5-MMtpy cracker was built at the company’s olefins plant in Baytown, Texas. As part of the company’s $20-B Growing the Gulf program, the new ethane cracker will provide ethylene feedstock to two 650,000-tpy PE units at ExxonMobil’s plastics plant in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The PE plants began operation in 2017. The construction of additional downstream units is a direct effect of cheap, abundant shale gas being produced domestically. The company’s Growing the Gulf initiative includes 11 major refining, chemical, lubricant and LNG projects along the US Gulf Coast.

Bechtel and Linde Engineering North America built the olefins recovery units, while Mitsui and Heurtey Petrochem built the olefins furnaces. Jacobs Engineering was responsible for overseeing the connection from ExxonMobil’s Baytown olefins plant to its plastics facility in Mont Belvieu.

Owner/operator: ExxonMobil / EPC: Bechtel, Linde Engineering North America, Jacobs Engineering Group


Oman is investing more than $14 B in new downstream infrastructure. These investments will help diversify the nation’s products portfolio—a major initiative of many Middle Eastern nations—and accomplish a major pillar of its Vision 2020 plan. The country’s Vision 2020 plan calls for the diversification of Oman’s economy, which includes developing its downstream refining and petrochemical sectors.

One of the country’s major downstream projects is the Liwa Plastics Industries Complex project. Located in Sohar, the $6.5-B facility will receive feedstock from the recently completed Sohar refinery, as well as from a new NGL extraction plant to be built in the Fahud gas field located approximately 330 km south of Sohar. The Liwa complex will consist of an 800,000-tpy steam cracker, HDPE and LLDPE plants, a 300,000-tpy PP plant, MTBE and pygas units and additional processing units.

The steam cracker and associated facilities are being built by McDermott and CTCI. Tecnimont SpA, a subsidiary of Maire Tecnimont, will build the PE and PP plants. Mitsui and GS E&C will build an NGL extraction plant at the Fahud gas field in western Oman. The Fahud NGL extraction station will extract NGLs from produced natural gas, which will be used as feedstock for the Liwa complex. Punj Lloyd is the main contractor for the construction of the 330-km pipeline that will transport the NGL from the Fahud gas field to Sohar.

Ethylene and MTBE technologies for the Liwa facility are being provided by McDermott. The PP and PE plants will utilize technology from LyondellBasell and Univation Technologies, respectively. Axens will provide its proprietary technology for the plant’s pygas unit.

The Liwa project is scheduled to be completed in 2019. Once completed, the facility will be instrumental in increasing ORPIC’s PE and PP production to 1.4 MMtpy.

Owner/operator: Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries (ORPIC) / EPC: McDermott, CTCI, Tecnimont SpA, Mitsui, GS E&C, Punj Lloyd / Licensors: McDermott, Axens, LyondellBasell, Univation Technologies


Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian) Co. Ltd. is investing more than $11 B to build a massive refining and petrochemical integrated complex near Shanghai. The capital-intensive complex is being built in the Hengli Petrochemical Industrial Park on Changxing Island, approximately 42 km northeast of Shanghai. The integrated facility will consist of a 400,000-bpd refinery, a 4.5-MMtpy aromatics plant, a 450,000-tpy PP plant, a 400,000-tpy high-density PE plant and a PX plant. The high-purity PX produced will feed into Hengli’s existing purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plants—and a fourth PTA line, licensed by INVISTA Process Technologies, is planned, which will have a capacity of 2.5 MMtpy. Several proprietary technologies are being used within the complex, including technologies from Axens, Chevron Lummus Global, DuPont, LyondellBasell and W.R. Grace.

Owner/operator: Hengli Petrochemical (Dalian) Co. Ltd. / Licensors: Axens, Chevron Lummus Global, DuPont, INVISTA Performance Technologies, LyondellBasell, W.R. Grace and Co.


In March, Chevron Phillips Chemical successfully commenced operations at its world-scale Cedar Bayou ethane cracker in Baytown, Texas. The 1.5-MMtpy cracker was part of the company’s $6-B US Gulf Coast Petrochemicals Project. This capital-intensive program focused on building a new ethane cracker in Baytown that would feed two new 500,000-tpy PE plants in Old Ocean, Texas. Both PE plants began operations in September 2017. Both PE plants were built by Gulf Coast Partners, a JV between Technip USA and Zachary Industrial. Additional ethylene produced at Cedar Bayou will become feedstock for Chevron Phillips Chemical’s normal alpha olefins plants.

A Fluor–JGC JV built the new ethane cracker. JGC’s scope included the construction of the core facilities and process plant, while Fluor’s responsibilities included outside battery limits and direct hiring. The plant began commissioning activities in December 2017, with full commercial startup in March. According to Chevron Phillips Chemical, more than 5,000 workers were employed during peak construction. The capital-intensive investments were a direct effect of the shale gas revolution in the US.

Owner/operator: Chevron Phillips Chemical
EPC: Fluor–JGC JV / Licensor: Technip


Zhejiang Petrochemical Co. Ltd.—a JV of Zhejiang Rongsheng Holding Group Co. Ltd., Juhua Group Corp., Tongkun Group Co. Ltd. and Zhoushan Marine Comprehensive Development Investment Co. Ltd.—is building one of the largest integrated facilities in the world. The integrated refining and petrochemical complex is being built approximately 280 km south of Shanghai on Zhoushan Island.

The $24-B mega-complex will be built in two phases. Phase 1 includes the construction of a 400,000-bpd refinery, a 5.2-MMtpy aromatics complex, a 4-MMtpy PX plant, a 600,000-tpy propane dehydrogenation unit and a 1.4-MMtpy ethylene plant. Additional processing units will produce derivatives such as PE, PP, ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol, and ethylene vinyl acetate. Phase 1 is expected to be completed in 2019. A second phase could double the size of the plant by 2021. If Phase 2 is completed, total refining capacity could top 800,000 bpd, with production of aromatics, ethylene and PX doubling to 10.4 MMtpy, 2.8 MMtpy and 8 MMtpy, respectively.

The facility is part of China’s goal to mitigate imports and produce more raw materials for downstream processing.

Owner/operator: Zhejiang Petrochemical Co. Ltd. 
Licensor: Honeywell UOP, McDermott

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