The IRPC refinery and petrochemical complex, located in the Rayong Province of Thailand, has a crude processing capacity of 215,000 barrels a day (bpd), which makes it the third biggest refinery in the country.

IRPC Public Company, a subsidiary of Thailand’s state-owned oil and gas company PTT, is the owner and operator of the integrated refinery and petrochemical complex.

IRPC reached final investment decision on a £300.5m ($414.5m) Ultra Clean Fuel project at the refinery in July 2021. The project is intended to upgrade the refinery to improve efficiency and produce Euro V standard low-sulphur diesel from January 2024, complying with the policy regulations of the Ministry of Energy, Thailand.

Location and infrastructure facilities

The IRPC refinery and petrochemical complex is located in an industrial complex in Choeng Noen, Mueang Rayong, on the eastern coast of Thailand, approximately 200km south-east of Bangkok.

The supporting infrastructure facilities at the refinery site include a deep-sea port, a tank farm, and a 220MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant equipped with six General Electric (GE) 6B gas turbines and six heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs).

IRPC refinery and petrochemical products

The IRPC refinery’s products include petrol, diesel, naphtha, fuel oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), lube base oil, and asphalt.

The integrated complex also produces a range of petrochemical products including polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, expandable polystyrene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, acrylonitrile styrene, polymer additives, toluene, xylene, and mixed xylene.

Processing facilities at IRPC refinery and petrochemical complex

The IRPC oil refinery consists of two atmospheric distillation units (ADUs) of 65,000bpd and 150,000bpd capacities,  a gas concentration unit, an LPG sweetening unit, and a diesel hydrotreating (DHT) unit, along with an amine regeneration unit (ARU), an acid gas treatment facility, and a sulphur recovery unit (SRU).

The other processes carried out in the refinery complex include deep catalytic cracking as well as residual deep catalytic cracking.

Further, the refinery houses a 320,000 tonnes per year (tpa) lube base oil plant and a 600,000tpa asphalt production plant.

The integrated refinery and petrochemical complex has the capacity to produce up to 732,000 tonnes (t) of propylene, 462,858t of naphtha, 915,000t of polyolefins, and 433,000t of polystyrenics a year.

Contractors involved in IRPC refinery upgrade

Wison Engineering, a company based in China, received the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contract for a new hydrogen manufacturing unit (HMU-2) as part of the Ultra Clean Fuel project at the IRPC refinery in September 2021.

The contractual scope includes detailed engineering, supply of equipment and materials, and construction and installation, as well as pre-commissioning, commissioning, and performance test services.

The construction of the HMU-2 facility is expected to be started in 2022, with the mechanical completion scheduled for the third quarter of 2023. The new hydrogen facility will be designed to produce up to 40,000 normal cubic metres per hour (Nm3/h) of pure hydrogen.

Hyundai Engineering, an engineering and construction company based in South Korea, was awarded a contract valued at £187.3m ($257m) for the IRPC refinery upgrade for producing cleaner diesel in August 2021.

Contracts awarded for the IRPC petrochemical facility expansion

Honeywell was awarded a contract to provide Honeywell UOP process technologies for a new aromatics facility in IRPC’s petrochemical complex in May 2018.

The contractual scope included providing license, design, key equipment, catalysts, and adsorbents for the project, which will use Honeywell UOP’s proprietary continuous catalyst regeneration (CCR) PlatformingTM and light desorbent (LD) ParexTM processes. Honeywell UOP was to license its SulfolaneTM, IsomarTM and TatorayTM technologies for the project.

Scheduled for completion in 2022, the new aromatics facility was expected to produce 1.2 million tonnes (Mt) of paraxylene a year and increase the benzene production capacity from 114,000tpa to 495,000tpa.

Furthermore, Wood was awarded a front-end engineering design (FEED) contract for a world-scale paraxylene complex at the IRPC refinery site under a project called the Maximum Aromatics (MARS) in October 2018. IRPC, however, postponed the MARS project due to falling global demand for petrochemical products amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.