Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery (MAA) was built in 1949 as a simple refinery with a refining capacity not exceeding 25,000 bpd to supply the local market with its needs of gasoline, kerosene and diesel. The refinery is located 45 km to the South of Kuwait City on the Arabian Gulf. It covers a total area of 10,534,000 m2.
Following the establishment of KPC and the restructuring of the oil sector, ownership of the refinery was passed from Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) to Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) which became responsible for the oil refining and gas liquefaction operations in Kuwait. In the early 1980’s as part of an overall plan
to upgrade the refining industry and expand the refineries , work started on two ambitious projects to modernize Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery, namely the MAA-Refinery Modernization Project (MAA-RMP) (which was completed in 1984) and the Further Upgrading Project MAA-FUP (which was commissioned in 1986). Within the framework of these two projects, 29 new units were built at this refinery which has now become one of the world’s modern refineries in terms of both refining capacity, which exceeds 460,000 bpd and the advanced technology it employs.
Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery Modernization Project (RMP) was basically intended to provide the local and world markets with low sulphur -content petroleum products, and to reduce dependence on gas as fuel, providing cheaper and more stable fuel to the country’s power generation plants.
The Further Upgrading Project (FUP) was based on more comprehensive view of the future of petroleum product markets in order to maximize profits and ensure a stable market for the three refineries output. The project further sought to increase the share of light and medium products of the distillation process and minimize the share of fuel oil in the end output, resulting in a higher return from the crude oil refining processes. The refinery now contains 29 new units, in addition to the old units, including the crude distillation units, the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit, the Atmospheric Residue Desulphurization Units, the Vacuum Rerun Unit and the Sulphur Recovery unit.
Mina Al-Ahmadi History
1949: 25,000-30,000 BPD Refinery commissioned under KOC.
1958/63: Refinery expansion to 190,000 PBD & 250,000 BPD respectively.
1978: Gas liquefaction plant was commissioned.
1981: Rhenformer Units commissioned.
1984: Transfer of MAA Refinery to KNPC.
1984: Refinery modernization project (RMP) untis commissioned progressively.
1985: Further upgrading project (FUP) units commissioning started.
1987: FCC was commissioned
1997: FCC unit capacity increased to 40,000 BPD (revamp), as part of MAFR. - PRU, MTBE, ALKAYLATION, and SAR units commissioning started.
2000: A mishap due to a leak in gas condensate line, led to a destruction of several facilities. Immediate rehabilitation took place to repair and replace the damaged facilities. New ATK MEROX unit was commissioned.
2002: New G.O.D is commissioned in April, 2002.
MAA Main Units
Crude Oil Distillation Unit:
The total capacity of the two new crude oil distillation units is 290,000 bpd. They receive crude feed from the Burgan, Ratawi and other oil fields. In these units, the raw material is separated in the distillation tower into a large number of products such as gas, naphtha, kerosene, light gas oil, heavy gas oil and residues. The distillates of these two units are sent to other conversion units in order to improve their specifications to the required standard. These two units were built as part of the refinery modernization project (MAA-RMP). They supplement the production of the existing crude distillation unit to raise the capacity of these three CDU units to around 466,000 bpd.
Fluid Catalytic Cracking Units (FCC)
The unit was commissioned in 1986 as part of the “Refinery Further Upgrading Project (FUP)” with a capacity of 30,000 bpd.
In 1997, the unit was revamped and its capacity was raised to 40,000 bpd as part of MAFP (which stands for MTBE Alkylation, and FCC revamp Project). Since that time the unit continues to play a major role as a heart conversion unit among the three refineries , where it processes various feed to produce high quality products and feedstock for downstream units for further processing. The unit objective is to produce maximum Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG) and Gasoline (Conversation level 79 of LV% to gasoline ). The “Olefin” rich LPG stream (Double Bond Hydrocarbons) is further processed in downstream units to produce Propylene, MTBE and Alkylate.
FCC unit consists of the following sections
Gas Concentration Unit
FEED 40,000BPD (VGO.75vol%, CGO. 26vol%) FCC PRODUCTS VIELDS
Main Units at Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery
||No. Of Units
|Crude Distillation Units
|EOCENE Topping Unit
|Bitumen Production Unit (Asphalt)
|Atmospheric Residue Desulphurization
|Naphtha Reforming Units
|Kerosene Desulphurization Units
|Gas oil Desulphurization Units
|Vacuum Distillation Unit
|Hydro Cracking Units (HCR)
|Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit
|Hydrogen Recovery Unit
|Hydrogen production Units
|Sulphur Recovery Unit
|CCR Naphtha Reformers
|Gas Oil Desulphurization Unit
|New Gas Oil Desulphurization Unit
|Tail Gas Treatment Unit (TGT)
|Sour Water Treating Unit (SWT)
CCR Naphtha Reformers
After the June 2000 mishap in Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery, immediate action was taken to rehabilitate the damaged facilities. The company decided to build two identical reformate production units in place of the old destroyed units with state-of-art technology.
The new “Naphtha Complex” includes two identical process trains. Each process train consists of a Naphtha Hydrotreater, Naphtha Splitter and CCR (Continuous Catalyst Regeneration) reformers for gasoline production. A dedicated Nitrogen Generation Unit is also being built to cater to N2 requirement for both units.
The objective of the complex is to produce reformat with RON of MON of 90.06 and Benzene content of 1.0 vol% max. The complex was commissioned in October 2003.
Hydrotreating of Naphtha is essential to remove catalyst poisons such as Sulphur, Nitrogen which is catalytically hydrotreated in a fixed bed reactor employing a select catalyst and hydrogen rich stream to decompose organic sulphur, oxygen and nitrogen compounds contained in hydrocarbon fractions. In addition, hydrotreating remove organometallic compounds and saturates olefin compounds.
The Naphtha hydrotreating process makes a major contribution in the operations and economy of platforming.
Sulphur Recovery Units:
Within phases 1 and 2 of Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery Modernization Project, four units were constructed to recover the sulphur obtained as a byproduct of certain refinery processes. The total capacity of these units is 1,334 metric tons, of sulphur per day.
Sulphur Storage and Handling Facility:
A special compound was built for the storage and breaking into flakes the Sulphur produced by the three refineries. Here this by product is prepared for export by means of conveyer belts that reach the vessels directly. Originally, sulphur is liquid , then it turns into a solid cohesive mass when it cools. It is flaked into small pieces to facilitate handling. Precautions are taken to prevent air pollution with sulphur dust when it is broken or carried.
The sulphur breaking and handling compound at MAA Refinery receives the sulphur produced at Mina Abdulla and Shuaiba refineries from which the material is pumped
through pipelines that are heated continuously to ensure the smooth flow of the liquid sulphr.
Central Control System:
In each of the two stages of the MAA Refinery Modernization Project, a state- of- the - art central control room was established in addition to several local control systems, or sub-control rooms. At Mina Al-Ahmadi, the central control system relies on state-of- the art microprocessor technologies. Each central control room houses several operation stations equipped with monitors linked to a microprocessor that monitors the refinery units. The computer performs an extensive series of operations such as the numerous variable data in the production processes (heat, pressure, etc). The computer displays drawings and plans of the production units with different variable data and the operation status of every unit. The computer also gives alarm messages
when any of these values exceed the limits for safe operation. Furthermore, the computer performs complicated mathematical operations required for the control and operation of the units, thus ensuring added security and safety.
The CCR also helps in the conservation of energy and accurately controls the specifications of the petroleum products.
The New Oil Pier at Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery
The new south pier in MAA was inaugurated in February 2004 as part of the (Construction and Restoration of MAA Two oil piers) the refinery has two oil piers to export crude oil, LPG and petroleum products.
SOUTH LOADING PIER (connected with the Refinery)
NORTH LOADING PIER (10KM north of the Refinery)
The project basically envisaged construction of a new pier to replace the South Pier and restoration of the North Pier so that its life will be extended for 15 year.
The New South Pier is the largest and the most advanced marine facility in the Middle East with the state of art technology. The construction of the pier took seven years, four for studies and three for construction. it has six berths for the export of Crude oil, LPG and petroleum products.
The New Pier’s Advanced System and Technology - Main Features
|Number of Mooring Points
|Estimated design life
|Total of mooring points
|Total number of Platforms
Petroleum products being exported:
Light and Heavy Fuel Oil
Diesel, Kerosene and Naphtha
Tankers advanced and satellite connected berth monitoring system that ensures safe and accurate anchorage
Sudden-Interruption suction system for petroleum products during loading operation.
LPG Plant at Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery
Gas Liquefaction Plant (LPG) at Mina Al-Ahmadi went on stream in 1978. It consists of three trains the capacity of each is 560,MMSCF designed for the extraction of propane, butane and natural gasoline. The plant also consists of storage tanks divided into two tank farms. The greater portion of the LPG plant production is now being exported to the world market from the south pier of Mina Al-Ahmadi which is connected to the plant by a pipeline network. The average daily rate of feedstock to the plant stands at around 1680 MMSCF per day.
The LPG plant receives natural gas from Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) gathering centres (26) in located at the various oil fields in Kuwait and liquid gas from KNPC refineries. Propane and butane are exported through the refinery south pier.
The mixture of gases is separated in the plant’s units into the following products:
||Capacity ‘000 Bbls/day|
|Liquid Propane (LPG)
|Liquid Butane (LPG)
|Natural Gasoline (KNG)
In addition to lean gas and residues.
The Gas plant was built to process all associated gas/ condensates collected from Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), another KPC company which is responsible for oil / gas exploration & production. It consists of three identical trains with a total processing capacity of 1.68 billion SCF/ day (including 80,000 BPD of hydrocarbon condensate). While the LPG plant essentially produces liquefied propane, liquefied butane which are stored in refrigerated tanks and Kuwait Natural Gasoline (KNG) It also produces high-pressure (HP) and low pressure (LP) lean gases.
It should be noted that the LPG plant plays a significant role as the primary energy
supplier to power stations, KNPC refineries & PIC. It is also the only petrochemical feed stock supplier of ethane gas to Equate for the manufacture of poly- ethylene.
In order to meet the new unleaded gasoline specification as well as to upgrade cracked LPG from the FCC unit, new facilities were added downstream of the FCC unit. These units together called the MAFP block and commissioned in 1997, including facilities to supply propylene product to PIC for the manufacture of polypropylene and to produce Alkylate and MTBE, which are both mogas components.
Acid Gas Removel project (AGRP) the AGRP was implemented in the year 2000 in order to treat associated sour gas from the oil fields.
In order to meet latest diesel qualities, a new Gas Oil Desulphurization Unit was added to the refinery configuration in the year 2002.
Further, two new Naphtha Continuous Catalytic Reforming (CCR) units are built and commissioned in the year 2003. MAA Refinery also houses the control of sulfur solidification and granulation facilities, which serves the three KNPC refineries. MAA & LPG plant employees about 1550 Staff.
Gas Plant: (Summary of Main Features)
Located at Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery.
Consists of 3 Trains of identical capacity each.
Total capacity is 1680 MMSCF per Day (560 x 3 Trains). Processes sweet associated gas & condensate from the crude production.
The process involves separation of liquid products (Propane, Butane and KNG) from the feed & supply lean gas to the end users (mainly Power Plants) & Petrochemicals (Ethane).
Bilding a 4th Gas train is underway and a 5th. train is being planned.