The Hengyi PMB refinery and petrochemical project involves the development of an integrated refinery and petrochemical complex at Pulau Muara Besar in Brunei. The world-class refinery and petrochemical facility is being developed in two phases by  Hengyi Industries.

Hengyi Industries is a joint-venture between China’s Zhejiang Hengyi Group (70%) and Damai Holdings (30%), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Brunei Government's Strategic Development Capital Fund.

The Hengyi PMB refinery and petrochemical project being developed as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is considered to be one of the biggest single foreign direct investments in Brunei.

Phase one of the project that involved an estimated investment of £2.76bn ($3.45bn) commenced operations with a crude oil refining capacity of 175,000 barrels a day (eight million tonnes a year)  in November 2019.

Location and site details

The Hengyi PMB refinery complex is being developed on a 276ha-site at Pulau Muara Besar, a 955ha industrial park on the Muara Besar Island at the Brunei Bay, near Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei.

Phase one processing infrastructure

The various processing units in the phase one refinery facility include an atmospheric and vacuum distillation unit, a reforming unit, a hydrocracking unit, a monomeric aromatic hydrocarbon unit, a diesel hydrotreating unit, a jet fuel hydrotreating unit, a flexicoking unit, a sulphur recovery unit, and a naphtha isomerisation unit.

In phase one, the project produces petrol, diesel, and jet fuel, apart from approximately 1.5 million tonnes of paraxylene and  500,000t of benzene a year. The majority of the feedstock for the refinery is imported while Brunei supplies a small portion of the total crude oil supply.

The refinery received approximately one million barrels (Mbl) of Arabian Medium crude oil from Aramco in June 2020 making it the first-ever direct Arabian crude oil delivery to Brunei.

Hengyi Industries started the supply of transportation fuels including petrol, diesel, and jet fuel to the domestic market in Brunei in May 2020.

Hengyi PMB refinery phase two project details

Hengyi Industries is expected to invest approximately £10.6bn ($13.654bn) in the Hengyi PMB refinery and petrochemical project phase two of the project.

Phase two involves new processing facilities at the site for an additional oil refining capacity of 14 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa), as well as for the production of up to 2Mtpa of paraxylene, 2.5Mtpa of purified terephthalic acid, and 1Mtpa of polyethylene terephthalate.

Contracts awarded

Nanjing Chemical Construction was awarded the general construction work of the western and the eastern tank farms of the project in March 2017.

DuPont Clean Technologies was contracted to provide a technology license and engineering for a STRATCO alkylation unit capable of producing up to 800,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) or 20,750 barrels of alkylate per stream day (bpsd), in August 2020.

The alkylation unit will enable the refinery to produce petrol with high octane, low sulphur, zero aromatics, and zero olefins. The unit is expected to start operations in 2023.

Lummus Technology’s Novolen business unit was awarded a contract to deliver a large-scale polypropylene unit in October 2020. The scope of the contract includes the technology license for polypropylene unit, and related basic design engineering, training, and technical services. The 1Mtpa polypropylene unit will be one of the biggest units in the world.

Supcon provides a manufacturing execution system (MES) solution for the refinery and petrochemical plant.