News Details

Report on the Industrial Visit to ORPIC-Sohar Refinery


Dr. Antonio Mateo     05-02-2015 14:40:06

I. Objectives
a. Be familiar with the unit operations equipment/ separation processes in the actual refinery.
b. Differentiate physical and chemical processes for crude oil separation and fractionation
c. Understand the design and process requirements for petroleum purification and refining in Oman.
d. Learn the aspect of health and safety standards applied inside the oil & gas plant facility.

II. Actual Events
1. Assembly Point and Bus Ride going to Mina Al Fahal

* The group was comprised of 18 students (12 males and 6 females), 1 lecturer in Oil & Gas, and 3 Administration staff, including the driver. Their (1) one-day visit was made possible through the effort and approval of Mr. Ali Said Al Mahrooqi, Training and Development Manager, ORPIC or Oman Refinery and Petrochemical Industrial Company.

* One bus, with 27-seats capacity, was provided by the College for the group’s transportation. The boys were placed in front, near the driver, while the girls were seated at the back. The group left the College at 7:20AM bound for Sohar Refinery-ORPIC.

2. The 3.5 hr Journey from Nizwa to Sohar

* The distance from Nizwa to Sohar was quite long so Mr. Sulaiman Al Harthi decided to provide some entertainment and some lessons in life.

* After more than 3 hrs of travel, the group arrived at the Sohar Refinery – ORPIC’s main gate and was escorted inside the visitors’ hall.

3. The Reception at Sohar Refinery – Visitors’ Center

* We were met by Mr. Said and ORPIC Engineer. After a while, they started with the Company’s slide show and explained each of the processes in making petroleum products.

* In Arabic, the students were given a brief introduction about the history of ORPIC, its merging initiative with Sohar Refinery in 2011, as well as the three plants existing inside the process boundaries (Petrochem, Polypropylene and Aluminium plants)


4. The Presentation of Fundamental Flow Processes for the Sohar Refinery

* From the main oil pipeline of Oman, crude oil is processed in two main refineries: (1) Mina Al Fahal ORPIC plant, and (2) Sohar Refinery plant.

* Crude oil components are distilled or separated with respect to their boiling points, and these fractionated portions (LPG, gasoline, naptha, kerosene, diesel, and heavy fuels) are processed further to come up with more purified products of high quality. E.g. Improving the octane rating of gasoline, or reformulating kerosene into aircraft or jet-fuel.

* Some of these petroleum components are used as precursors to create other useful petrochemical products (Polypropylene, plastics, high-grade polymers, etc.).


III. Plant Visit Proper

* After having a sumptuous lunch at the ORPIC canteen, our group was informed that we could only view the processing units of Sohar Refinery from an outside fence in the comfort of our bus’ seats.

* Accompanied by Mr. Said, our group breezed through four sites along the perimeter fence: (1) HSE quick response unit, (2) MTBE catalysts stock area, (3) Depot of fuel and water tanks, and (4) a Distillation column on cold mode, 300 meters away from our viewing position. And our group only had a glimpse of the Polypropylene plant. This viewing session took us only about 15 minutes or less.

* We wrapped up at 3:30 PM and thanked our host in the ORPIC site. We then traveled back to Nizwa for more than three hours.


IV. Acknowledgement

On behalf of the Diploma students in Oil & Gas Engineering, we are grateful to the following people for making this Industrial Visit possible:

* Mr. Ismail Al Riyami, for his coordination with PDO’s Planetarium and Oil & Gas Exhibition Center.
* Dr. Saravanan, for his support to the Diploma students of Oil & Gas
* Mr. Suleiman Al Harthi for his guidance and sharing of life lessons.
* Mr. Said of ORPIC, for his kind assistance and informative presentations

Thank you very much for your help and assistance on this activity.

Report Submitted to:

Mr. Ismail Al Riyami, HOD - OJT and Career Services Department
Dr. Saravanan Paramasivam, HOD- Engineering Department


Report Prepared by:

Dr. Antonio L. Mateo, Jr., Lecturer – Oil & Gas Engineering
Date: February 2, 2015