Company increases asphalt production with new technology
Expansion will increase total production capacity to the equivalent of 42,000 barrels per day.
The Ras Tanura Refinery (RTR) has successfully completed its asphalt production facility expansion, increasing the total production capacity to the equivalent of 42,000 barrels per day.
The project, which recorded 8.1 million safe man-hours without lost time injuries during construction and pre-commissioning phases, used three new technologies: an eco-friendly bitumen plant process, innovative concrete piling, and a groundbreaking de-watering system.
Refining and NGL Projects Department manager, Megbel A. Al Shammari, said, “The project added value to the RT Refinery through Biturox® technology, which is more efficient and reliable over the traditional asphalt production.”
“We are always keen to execute our projects in accordance to the latest engineering and technology solutions.”
Salah A. Al Abdulhadi, the senior project engineer, said, “The project execution was extremely challenging due to brownfield, unforeseen underground utilities, and contaminated groundwater during excavations.
“The new plant is located in a very hazardous location, a congested area, which has limited access, and required the demolition of an existing mothballed plant. However, with the team spirit from the Project Management Team (PMT), contractor and refinery operations, we managed to overcome site challenges.”
The Biturox® process produces better quality asphalt from refinery feedstock components, enabling the refinery to produce bitumen from a wider range of crudes. It is a more efficient, reliable, economical, safe, and eco-friendly technology over the traditional asphalt process.
The PMT was able to reduce the concrete pilling execution time to improve the soil, using new soil improvement technology called “Controlled Modulus Columns” (CMC) on the Consulting Service Department’s (CSD) endorsement.
CMC is a substitute for the traditional bored piling foundation, resulting in a five-month schedule reduction and cost savings of 40%. CSD has recommended this technology for soil improvements in future projects.
The PMT managed to optimize a de-watering system to avoid underground water contamination that significantly reduced the duration of early project civil works.
RTR is located near the shore of the Arabian Gulf where the water table is high and a majority of projects at the site are experiencing issues associated with de-watering activities during the construction phase.
The contractor installed four wells at depths of between 10 to 18 meters at each corner of the project and employed submersible pumps to discharge water away from the bottom of the wells. This reduced contaminated water to an acceptable level.
The PMT applied clever project management skills, innovative ideas, and optimized execution strategies to mitigate risks and construction challenges.
The achievement of managing the brownfield construction challenges and implementing unique technologies to efficiently increase refinery asphalt production were made possible with the dedication and hard work of the PMT in collaboration with stakeholders.
The project scope facilities have now been handed over to RTR Operations.