PURSUING THE POLICY OF MODERNIZATION
The Seydi oil refinery is a major exporter of petroleum products to the world market. For a quarter century, the European and Asian companies made contracts at the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan for the purchase of straight-run gasoline, diesel fuel and fuel oil produced from crude oil and gas condensate. This year, the first thousand tons of high-quality road bitumen were exported. The Seydi oil refinery's products meet high international standards.
Over the past five years, the refinery has successfully implemented two innovative projects. Under the contracts with Westport Trading Europe Limited from the US, a state-of-the-art automated unit for production of road bitumen with the annual capacity exceeding 37,000 tons was put into operation at the refinery in 2015. Later, a major reconstruction of the crude oil processing unit - catalytic reforming - was completed, making it possible to begin production of high-octane Euro-5 gasoline. The refinery plans to increase output of light oil products and their exports.
Westport Trading Europe Limited is a long-standing and reliable partner of Turkmenistan. A package of solutions that it offered for reconstruction of existing and now for construction of new oil refining facilities at the Turkmenbashi complex of oil refineries are noted for high technological efficiency and full compliance with the most stringent environmental standards.
However, let us look into the recent history of Turkmenistan's largest eastern plant that has been very complex. The construction of the refinery lasted for a long time. It was designed to process raw materials from Siberia. After Turkmenistan gained independence, oil was supplied to the refinery by rail from the Kokdumalak border deposit. Obviously, such a situation was unacceptable for the country with the huge energy potential. Eventually, Turkmenistan solved this difficult task quite successfully by fully reorienting the plant near the city of Seydi to the consumption of domestic hydrocarbon raw materials for production of straight-run gasoline, diesel fuel and fuel oil.
As time passed, the Seydi oil refinery had to adjust to the new requirements for the efficient use of crude oil and gas condensate and diversification of the range of products in line with strict international standards. Three years ago, a unit for production of road bitumen was commissioned at the Seydi oil refinery. It was the first in the country to introduce a viscosity breaking technology to process heavy oil residues to decompose and separate paraffin from tar oil. The unit is designed to process 118 thousand tons of fuel oil, which is a basic material for production of more than 37 thousand tons of the valuable construction material and associated light and heavy vacuum gas oils.
Three dozen people found interesting and challenging jobs at the new production unit. They are mostly specialists with higher and secondary special education. After all, the facility is fitted out with modern European equipment with the high level of automation and computerized control and management of all stages of the technological chain.
The unit has its own railway and road overpasses. Moreover, there are railcars with heating and heat-resistant car tanks to prevent bitumen from cooling during transportation. The final products are delivered to the country's asphalt plants. Engineer-programmer Ilham Ibragimov, operator Aziz Gurbanov, machine operator Yashuzak Klychev and fellow workers are proud of the fact that their products are used not only in construction of roads in the native Lebap province but also in the neighboring Mary province. Previously, these regions were the clients of the Turkmenbashi oil refinery located in the west of the country.
Last March, another new production unit celebrated the first year of operations. This is a unit for production of high-octane A-98 (Euro-5 standard) gasoline with the annual capacity of 500 thousand tons of international standard products. Interestingly, one can see almost no personnel in its vast territory, as all the processes are operated by an automatic control system.
The new facility receives straight-run gasoline through the pipes. It then undergoes complex processes of heating and cooling, disposal of waste compounds, mixing with hydrogen and, in the end, high-grade fuel is delivered to the commodity-raw materials shop. All these cycles of the technological chain are monitored by the computers at the central board. Monitoring is conducted round-the-clock and, if necessary, the operators adjust the process of converting straight-run gasoline from the oil obtained from the fields in Lebap and Akhal provinces into high-grade A-98 gasoline.
As is known, the grade of such fuel is characterized by the low content of sulfur and polycyclic aromatic carbohydrates. This means an improved process of combustion in automobile engines, their longer operation life and, at the same time, significant reduction of toxic emissions into the atmosphere. It is no coincidence that a new type of fuel is shipped by road tankers and rail from Seydi to Afghanistan. It became possible owing to the opening of the international railway Atamurat - Ymamnazar in the south of Lebap provine at the end of 2016.
In total, four dozen people work in shifts at the new production unit, about half of them are specialists with higher education who graduated from the universities in Turkmenistan and abroad. The commissioning of two modern units in Seydi is evidence of the comprehensive implementation of the policy of modernization of production and introduction of advanced technologies for deep processing of hydrocarbon raw materials under the leadership of the head of state.
One should also add that the innovative way of development of the Seydi oil refinery, second largest in the industry, will continue as part of the Program of the President of Turkmenistan for Socio-Economic Development of the Country for 2018-2024. New processing lines and other modern facilities will be soon built at the Seydi oil refinery, including units for hydrotreating of diesel fuel, catalytic isodeparaffination, catalytic cracking of fuel oil, hydrotreating of secondary gasoline, production of hydrogen.