Kuwait’s Al Zour Refinery: seventh largest in the world with a refining capacity of 615,000 BPD


Kuwait, Kuwait’s Al Zour refinery is one of the region’s most impactful oil projects and a key component of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s (KPC) 2040 strategy and the “New Kuwait 2035” vision to increase crude oil refining capacity. The significance of this vital project is underscored by the presence of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah at the official ceremony celebrating the refinery’s full operation on May 29.

Located 90 kilometres south of Kuwait City, Al Zour refinery spans an area of 16 square kilometres, adjacent to the Al Zour power plant. Ranked seventh globally among the largest oil refineries by daily capacity, Al Zour was classified based on the 2022 global refining survey report published in the Oil and Gas Journal.

The Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC), a subsidiary of KPC and owner of the refinery, aims to fulfil KPC’s vision by becoming a leader in integrated refining operations, liquefied natural gas, and petrochemicals. KIPIC’s s
trategy focuses on maximising shareholder value, achieving operational excellence, and contributing to the local economy, aligning with KPC’s 2040 strategic directions.

Daily, Al Zour produces 86,000 barrels of naphtha, 99,000 barrels of jet fuel, 147,000 barrels of low sulphur diesel, 225,000 barrels of low sulphur fuel oil, and 2,500 tonnes of solid sulphur. The refinery aims to reduce sulphur oxide emissions from power plants by 75%, in line with Kuwait’s environmental goals, and ensures a steady supply of low sulphur fuel oil (less than 0.5%).

The refinery enhances Kuwait’s competitiveness by supplying global markets with high quality petroleum products, with sulphur content in jet fuel at 10 parts per million, in low sulphur diesel at 7 parts per million, and in low sulphur fuel oil at 0.5%. KPC chief executive Sheikh Nawaf Al Sabah highlighted the significant benefits of Al Zour’s full operation for Kuwait and the oil sector, noting its positive impact on the national economy through increased exports
of high quality oil derivatives that meet global standards.

Sheikh Nawaf Al Sabah stated that the rising demand for fuel oil from Al Zour, particularly from Europe, has led to profits exceeding expectations. He emphasised the refinery’s environmental friendliness due to its provision of low sulphur fuel oil for local consumption, which reduces emissions. He affirmed that Al Zour is among the world’s largest oil projects adhering to air quality and emissions reduction standards.

Sheikh Nawaf expressed pride in the national workforce at Al Zour, noting that the refinery’s operation has opened new opportunities for national cadres, enhancing their skills in building, operating, and managing major oil projects.

Acting CEO of KIPIC, Wadha Al Khatib, stated that Al Zour is one of the world’s largest refining projects, ranking seventh globally with a capacity of 615,000 barrels per day. She noted that Al Zour and the environmental fuel project, inaugurated in March 2022, mark a new era for Kuwait’s oil sector, en
abling KPC and its subsidiaries to expand in exporting and marketing oil products in new global markets.

Al Khatib highlighted the refinery’s flexible refining operations, capable of processing various grades of Kuwaiti crude oil, making it a strategic outlet for heavy oils. The refinery produces high quality derivatives like jet fuel, diesel, chemical naphtha, and low sulphur fuel oil, exported to over 30 countries via the refinery’s industrial island, alongside meeting local power plants’ needs for low sulphur fuel oil.

She noted that Al Zour houses the world’s largest complex for desulphurisation of residual oil from atmospheric distillation units. The refinery increases Kuwait’s refining capacity from 800,000 barrels per day to 1,415,000 barrels per day.

Al Khatib mentioned that Al Zour is designed to use treated water for industrial and irrigation purposes and features air quality monitoring stations. It employs advanced furnaces and boilers to minimise emissions, part of an integrated environmental s
ystem aimed at environmental control and monitoring.

She also pointed out the presence of a flare gas recovery system to minimise flaring, smoke free ground flares with low noise, and continuous air quality monitoring stations meeting the standards of the Environment Public Authority.

Al Khatib praised the efforts of the project’s workforce in overcoming challenges from planning and construction to operation, highlighting their role in the successful operation of Al Zour refinery.

Source: Bahrain News Agency

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