Most of our clothes, laptops, cameras, mobile phones, and cleaning products contain petrochemicals. IEA research claims petrochemical feedstock accounts for 12 percent of world oil requirements. With more fertilizers, plastics, and other products being produced, the demand for these products will quickly increase.
Refineries are amazing engineering feats with breathtaking complexity requiring a wealth of experience from conception to commissioning and operation. The following six of the world’s largest refineries contribute to shaping the world we know today.
Jamnagar Refinery – India
Jamnagar Refinery was commissioned as the world’s largest refinery in July 1999. It is a private sector refinery capable of refining 1.24 million barrels of oil daily. It’s owned and operated by Reliance Industries Limited and based in Jamnagar, Gujarat.
A fully integrated petroleum refinery, petrochemical complex, captive power plant, captive port, and related infrastructure are now included in the complex, in addition to the 2,500 jobs and over 7,500 acres of land devoted to a small town. The refinery’s pipes would link India from North to South if they were linked one after another.
The Bechtel petrochemical and refinery complex is already the world’s largest petrochemical and refinery complex, built from the ground up when it was completed in 2000. In 2008, it was expanded by over 6 billion USD, plus a second refinery that is still adjacent, effectively doubling its capacity.
More than 70,000 workers worked on the project at its peak. In addition, Bettel created a virtual company with 2,800 employees in 19 offices worldwide. Over 200,000 engineering and supplier documents were required during the construction of the second refinery, 1.5 million cubic meters of concrete and 4,400 pieces of major equipment were required, and the construction site was the size of London.
Ulsan Refinery – South Korea
SK Energy owns and operates the Ulsan Refinery in Ulsan, South Korea. By 2006, the refinery could manufacture 1.12 million barrels of oil daily. This company produces gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and asphalt. The refinery and its subsidiaries employ over 2,600 people.
It is considered the powerhouse of South Korea due to its ranking as the seventh-largest city in the country. In addition, it is located in the industrial heartland of the country.
The city of Ulsan has the world’s largest shipyard, coordinated by Hyundai Heavy Industries, in addition to the world’s largest refinery and automobile assembly plant.
Paraguaná Refinery – Venezuela
It is a Venezuelan refinery with a daily capacity of 971 thousand barrels, located in Paraguaná. With the Jamnagar and Ulsan refineries, it is currently the world’s third-largest refinery.
Three refineries were combined to create the entire complex: the Amuay Refinery, the Bajo Grande Refinery, and the Cardón Refinery. Paraguaná Refinery Complex works for Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the state-owned company in Venezuela that controls 71 percent of the nation’s refining capacity.
The refinery began operating in 1949 under Shell ownership. In 1950, Creole Petroleum built the Amuay Refining Plant, while Richmond (now Chevron) built the Bajo Grande Refining Plant in 1956. In the Cardon and Amuay refineries, raw crude oil can be processed at 955,000 barrels per day. In contrast, the Bajo Grande asphalt plant can process 16,000 barrels daily.
Yeosu Refinery – South Korea
There are 730,000 barrels of oil per day produced at Yeosu Refinery in South Korea, making it the second biggest refining facility in the country. Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, fuel oil, and sulfur are produced at GS Caltex (jointly owned by Chevron and GS Group). More than 50 percent of GS Caltex’s products are exported, and the company supplies more than one-third of Korea’s oil needs.
GS Caltex made a 1.5 billion USD investment was made in 2007 GS Caltex to construct the world’s largest vacuum distillation unit, a hydrocracker, and a base oil refinery. With this improvement, GS Caltex could crack heavier oils more effectively.
GS Caltex recently announced that for the Yeosu refinery’s operation, they switched from low-sulfur fuel oil to liquified natural gas (LNG) to reduce environmental impact. The refinery expects soot, nitrogen oxide, and total carbon dioxide emissions to be reduced by more than 30% by this transition.
Onsan Refinery – South Korea
In Korea, S-Oil owns the Onsan Refinery in Ulsan. There are 669 thousand barrels of oil processed each day by this facility.
Since 1980, S-Oil has been in the business of distilling crude oil. The company has expanded twice since then. In the Asia-Pacific region, S-Oil now has three crude distillation units and has become a significant supplier of hard oil.
The company also began exporting ultra-low sulfur gasoline (ULSG) in 2005 of below 10ppm sulfur content to Japan. In addition to exporting high-quality products to Europe, Asia, the United States, and Australia, S-Oil focuses much of its energy on creating and producing environment-friendly oil products.
Singapore Refinery – Singapore
A total of 605 thousand barrels per day are processed at the Singapore Refinery, owned by ExxonMobil. A total of 605 thousand barrels per day are processed at the Singapore Refinery, owned by ExxonMobil. It is their largest refinery, situated on Jurong Island in Singapore.
After merging with Mobil and Esso in 1999, ExxonMobil began operating both refineries as a single facility.
Currently, plans exist to expand the production of fuel oil-based lubricants. The ExxonMobil expansion project was awarded the engineering, procurement, and construction contracts in April 2019 following the adoption of the FID. A total cost of approximately 2.9 billion USD is anticipated. The project is scheduled for completion in 2023. Of course, engineering professionals and other industry experts will gain new job opportunities with such an expansion.
Upon completion, the plant will produce 48 thousand barrels of low-sulfur clean fuel daily. Furthermore, it will have a 20 thousand barrel increase in its base stock of lubricants for automotive and engine oil use.