Magnificent seven


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Petrochemicals Middle East finds the seven largest refineries in the world, by nameplate capacity, and highlights some of their key numbers...

Paraguana, Venezuela

Owner:PDVSA (state Venezuelan oil company)

Nameplate capacity:956,000 barrels per day

Current capacity:940,000 barrels per day (source PDVSA)

The Paraguana complex, on the Paraguana Peninsula in the state of Falcon in the northwest of Venezuela, comprises three refineries, Amuay, Cardón, and Bajo Grande and ranks as the biggest oil refining complex in the world (although it will lose this position following completion of the Jamnagar expansion.

The three refineries were integrated in 1997. The nameplate capacity of 956,000 barrels per day represents 74% of Venezuela's total refining capacity.

The product mix is as follows: distillates, 43%; gasoline, 28%; fuel oil, 24%, naphtha, 5% and others 1%. It serves both the domestic and export markets. The complex is part of a major petrochemical expansion project to produce olefins and aromatics, which is due for completion in 2014.

SK Energy Ulsan, South Korea

Owner:SK Energy

Nameplate capacity:840,000 barrels per day

Current capacity:840,000 barrels per day

The Ulsan refinery is the world's second largest refinery and the largest in Asia. SK Energy is the oldest and largest refiner in South Korea. Some 57% of the refinery's output serves the domestic market with the remainder going for export.

It produces diesel, gasoline, LPG, kerosene, naphtha, asphalts, propylene and slurry oil.

RIL Jamnagar, India

Owner:Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)

Nameplate capacity:661,000 barrels per day

Current capacity:650,000 barrels per day

Future nameplate capacity:1,650,000 barrels per day (following expansion)The Jamnagar refinery is fully integrated with associated downstream petrochemicals units, which manufacture naphtha-based aromatics as well as propylene-based polymers.

Situated on the northwest coast of India, the complex is located at Motikhavdi, Lalpur Taluka, Jamnagar District, in the state of Gujarat. It is near the Gulf of Kutch, close to Middle-East crude sources.

The new refinery being constructed on an adjacent site will process low quality crude with all output destined for export. Once completed, this will make Jamnagar the world's largest single refining complex.

The existing refinery has over 50 process units carrying out crude oil distillation (atmospheric and vacuum); catalytic cracking; catalytic reforming; and delayed coking.

GS Caltex, Yeosu, South Korea

Owner:GS Holdings,

Chevron (50% each)

Nameplate capacity:670,000 barrels per day

Current capacity:650,000 barrels per day

GS Caltex is a 50:50 joint venture between Chevron and South Korea's GS Holdings. GS Caltex was South Korea's first privatized oil refining company formed in 1967 and began commercial operations in April 1969 with a capacity of 60,000 barrels a day.

Currently, GS Caltex can refine 770,000 barrels a day, crack 153,000 barrels of heavy oil daily, and desulfurise 190,000 barrels of kerosene and diesel daily with the majorityat Yeosu.

A US$1.5 billion upgrade programme was completed in 2007 to increase production of high-value products by 33,000 barrels per day, adding 15,000 barrels per day in new lubricants production and to reduce costs through the processing of cheaper, heavier crude oils.

Plans have also been announced for a US $3 billion-plus new upgrade unit to be installed by 2010.

ExxonMobil, Singapore

Owner:ExxonMobil

Nameplate capacity:605,000 barrels per day

Current capacity:605,000 barrels per dayExxonMobil's Singapore refinery has two operating sites - one on the mainland (Jurong) and another on Jurong Island (Pulau Ayer Chawan). The integrated refinery processes some 605,000 barrels a day of crude into fuels and feedstock for our ExxonMobil's own chemical plants and customers.

The refinery also manufactures industrial and automotive lubricants.

Throughput at Jurong is 309,000 barrels per day and 296,000 barrels per day at Jurong Island.

The site employs a total of 740. it can handle a wide range of crudes and operate at different rates of feed in order to meet different requirements. It produces 15 grades of gasoline, 10 grades of jet/diesel, 10 grades of chemicals and 5 grades of fuel oil. Baton Rouge, US

Owner:ExxonMobil

Nameplace capacity:557,000 barrels per day

Current capacity:501,000 barrels per day

The world's fifth largest refinery manufactures around 300 products and grades of products, including: gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, aviation gasoline, lubricants, waxes, petroleum coke, LPG and chemical feedstocks.

It handles crudes from the US: Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alaska North Slope and from overseas: Mexico, North Sea, West Africa, South and Central America and the Gulf.

S-Oil, Onsan, South Korea

Owner:S-Oil

Nameplate capacity:550,000 barrels per day

Current capacity:520,000 barrels per day

The refinery was first established in 1980 with a capacity of 93,000 barrels per day and has seen subsequent expansions to the current 520,000 barrels per day. S-Oil has said it is considering building a new 480,000 barrel per day plant at Onsan to target export markets.

Also in March 2008 S-Oil and Total announced an agreement to integrate their lubricant-producing facilities into a new plant at Onsan which will add 2,500 barrels per day of lubricant capacity, doubling existing rates.

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