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Plant boosts value creation

November 20, 1998, 08:00 CET

A new plant for upgrading fuel oil to diesel is set to enhance value creation at Statoil's Kalundborg refinery near Copenhagen.

Known as a soaker visbreaker, the recently-opened facility came on line six months earlier than planned and well below the original budget.

"We've succeeded in reducing project implementation costs, principally because we've managed much of the modification work ourselves," says project manager Lars Rosenløv.

"Cutting execution time has helped to reduce the fixed project costs. And the whole organisation has been well motivated throughout."

Statoil's own personnel played key roles in the project, with the work largely done by local contractors.

Kalundborg already had a facility which alternated between thermal cracking and visbreaking - the process which handles the heaviest feedstock components.

With the new visbreaker in operation, the refinery can use the existing plant exclusively for thermal cracking. The two processes are now run in parallel.

"In addition to building the new plant, we've made extensive changes to the preheating system for feedstock to ensure that energy use is optimised," says Mr Rosenløv.

"We've also upgraded capacity in a vacuum distillation plant which delivers feedstock to both visbreaker and thermal cracker."

The new plant will boost annual upgrading capacity at Kalundborg by about 160,000 tonnes of diesel and roughly 15,000 tonnes of lighter products such as naphtha and gas.

Egil Sæl, vice president in charge of the refinery, expects annual earnings to rise by several tens of millions of kroner after the upgrade.

"This provides a very good return on investment in the plant," he says.