Socar & Turcas Oil Refinery, Turkey

A greenfield refinery is being built in a joint venture by the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (Socar) and Turcas Energy in Aliaga, Turkey.

The JV formed a subsidiary called Socar & Turcas
Refining in 2008 to carry out the project.

The new refinery will cover an area of 13,750 acres. It will have an annual crude processing capacity of ten million tons (mt) and 214,000 barrels per stream day (bpsd). About $5bn is being invested in the refinery.

The refinery will produce mainly light naphtha, LPG and diesel. Mixed xylenes, jet fuel, high reformate and coke will also be produced.

The Socar-Turcas JV received the construction licence from the state regulator of Turkey's Energy Market, Socar in July 2010. Construction of the refinery is expected to start in 2012 and be completed by 2014.

Feasibility study completed by Technip

The environmental impact assessment report for the refinery was approved by the Turkish Government in December 2009. The conceptual design of the refinery was carried out by UOP in 2009, and the preliminary feasibility study was completed in July 2009 by Technip.

"The new refinery will cover an area of 13,750 acres."

Construction is expected to start after completion of ongoing engineering studies. Around 7,000 to 10,000 people are expected to be involved in the construction of the plant. Once operational, the refinery will generate around 1,000 jobs.

Crude and vacuum distillation

The refinery will include crude and vacuum distillation units, a 40,000bpsd delayed coker unit and a 28,000bpsd continuous catalytic reformer. It will also include naphtha hydrotreating units, a 66,000bpsd hydrocracker and LPG caustic treatment units, kerosene and diesel hydrotreaters, a saturated gas unit and sulphur and tail-gas treatment units. An amine and sour-water stripper and a 160,000 -normal-m³/hr hydrogen unit will also form part of the refinery.


In March 2010, the Socar & Turcas JV signed the front end engineering and design (FEED) contract with Foster Wheeler. The FEED study will be carried out by Foster's global engineering and construction Group.

The JV has also signed agreements with five companies to provide engineering and licence services for various units at the refinery.

"Heavy crude can be converted into value added products."

These companies are France-based Axens, UOP, Foster Wheeler, Technip Benelux and Italy-based KTI. Foster Wheeler will be responsible for the engineering and design of the coker, which will use the company's SYDEC technology.

A project management consultancy is expected to be chosen for the project towards the end of 2010.

The engineering, procurement and construction contracts are expected to be awarded in 2011.

Thermal conversion technology

Foster's SYDEC technology is a thermal conversion process used to convert heavy crude oil into high-value products. The technology helps to maximise the production of clean liquid and minimise the production of fuel coke derived from high sulphur residues.

Using this technology enables both companies to maximise their profits. Compared with light and sweet crude, heavy crude oil is sold at a lower price. By using SYDEC technology, heavy crude can be processed easily and converted into value added products.

"Four millions tons of naphtha and fuel oil will be provided to Petkim."

Diesel and jet fuel sales

The new refinery will be integrated within the Petkim Petrochemical complex in Aliaga. Its ability to then provide raw material to Petkim was a leading factor in planning of the site by Socar – a majority shareholder in the petrochemical company.

About four millions ton of naphtha and fuel oil will be provided to Petkim to fulfil its raw material needs.

The refinery's remaining products, such as diesel and jet fuel, will be sold in Turkey and Europe. Petkim currently purchases naphtha from Tupras.

Petkim infrastructure

The new refinery is being built in the Petkim petrochemical plant as it can supply essential raw materials directly to the complex. Choosing this location also saves 30% in investment costs as the infrastructure is already in place.

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