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Orpic to invest in gas flaring reduction project i

Muscat - Oman Oil Refineries & Petroleum Industries Company SAOC (Orpic), the nation's refining and petrochemicals flagship, will invest in a Flare Gas Recovery System at its Sohar Refinery -- part of a multibillion dollar spend planned by the company over the next several years. A number of international engineering firms are bidding for Orpic's contract to provide front-end engineering design (FEED) services linked to the installation of the flare gas recovery system. The project -- part of Orpic's energy conservation and emissions abatement programme -- will help in the recovery and processing of vent gases, which would otherwise be flared. Recovered flare gas is proposed to be compressed for use in the plant as a fuel gas.

An overview of the project, among other major Orpic initiatives, was provided by executives at a seminar hosted by the company for the benefit of contractors, vendors and suppliers in Sohar last month.

Aside from Orpic's mega investments in the Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP) and Liwa Plastics Project (LPP), the seminar also highlighted contracting opportunities linked to, among other things, the CDU Column Revamp Project, RFCC Revamp Project, Texas Tower Project, Cooling Water System Project, Seawater RO Piping Upgrade, Work Environment Project, and Muscat-Sohar Product Pipeline.

Basic engineering for the Flare Gas Recovery Project has been carried out by US-based John Zink Hamworthy, a leading provider of emissions-control and clean-air systems and technologies. Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the company's flare systems and technologies find wide application in industries ranging from hydrocarbon and chemical processing, to biofuels, automobile manufacturing, food processing, pulp and paper, and waste management.

The basic processes employed in the flare recovery system, according to Orpic, are the collection of flare gases from the liquid seal drum, compression of the gases, and physical separation. Gas compression is performed by liquid ring compressors, while separation of recovered vapour phase from a mixed liquid is accomplished in a horizontal separator vessel.

Significantly, the project is seen as a further improvement to previous initiatives undertaken by Orpic on the flare reduction front. In September 2013, the company announced the commissioning of two projects for reducing flaring and sulphur dioxide emission as part of a comprehensive $50 million environment improvement programme (EIP). As a result of that initiative, flaring at Sohar Refinery was reduced by 60 per cent over 2011 trends. In quantity terms, flaring dropped from 12.5 tonnes per hour in 2010 to 4.5 tonnes in August 2013, the company stated.