Earthworks related to the construction of the main EFRA Project units have started in the Gdańsk refinery. Ground improvements, i.e. piling for the Hydrogen Generation Unit (HGU) as well as work on the construction site for the coking complex that will house the Delayed Coking Unit (DCU) and Coking Naphtha Hydrotreating Unit (CNHT), have commenced.
The construction of an electrical substation building and pipeline trestle is also underway. The necessary facilities for the subcontractors and the site for tanks are being prepared.
Currently, on the refinery grounds there are over one hundred workers from such Polish companies as Przembud Gdańsk, P.R.I. Centrum and LOTOS Serwis, soon to be joined by other Polish subcontractors: Mostostal Zabrze and Elektromontaż Gdańsk. At the height of works under the EFRA Project in 2017, the site will see up to 2,000 workers, predominantly from Polish-owned companies.
The entire scope of the EFRA Project is divided into seven execution areas covering thirty facilities. These seven areas comprise the future units as well as smaller facilities indispensable for the operation of the entire refinery after the project has been completed. Now advanced earthworks are in progress for the coking complex (DCU+CNHT) and the Hydrogen Generation Unit (HGU), both crucial to the entire Project. The EFRA Project should allow LOTOS to increase its refining margin by around USD 2 per barrel.
– This project will drive numerous tangible advantages benefiting other areas of the Polish economy as well. It goes beyond giving us, a Polish refinery, greater resilience to turmoil on the global oil market as it guarantees flexible and efficient processing. It will also position us to market additional quantities of high-quality petroleum products. Finally, EFRA will introduce state-of-the-art, innovative technological and organisational solutions to the refinery, building the potential of the Polish industry. For our engineers, these technologies represent a foundation for further innovations and improvements that can be used by other Polish companies as part of the re-industrialisation plan – says Paweł Olechnowicz, President of Grupa LOTOS S.A.
The EFRA Project is consistent with the government’s re-industrialisation plan because, on the one hand, it will introduce state-of-the-art solutions and technologies to the domestic refining industry, thus enhancing its competitiveness, and, on the other, opens the possibility to produce high-quality petroleum products that will be sold to Polish and foreign customers. It also means additional jobs in highly promising fields in the refinery as well as the cooperating companies.
Polish specialists are worth their weight in gold
Though the general contractor for the EFRA Project is KT of Italy, a renowned leading international contractor for such projects, a number of Polish subcontractors are also involved. The project assumes engaging proven Polish partners and employees in the construction process. At the height of the works, the construction site will require some 2,000 workers, mostly from Polish companies. Already today, such companies as Przembud Gdańsk, P.R.I. Centrum and LOTOS Serwis (a LOTOS Group company) are busy on the site. Soon they will be joined by Mostostal Zabrze and Elektromontaż Gdańsk. In 2015, as part of preparations to construction works, ground investigation works were conducted by two specialised companies from the Gdańsk province.
Polish specialists will be assigned to work on electrical systems, road infrastructure and inter-unit connections, with fifty Polish experts from Tebodin Polska acting as the owner’s representatives. Design work for auxiliary facilities and connections between the new project and the refinery was entrusted to the Polish branch of Fluor (approximately 80 persons). Due to the large number of external workers, the construction process will require engaging regional transport, service, catering and hospitality companies.
Current developments on the construction site
In many cases, the progress of construction and documentation work is beyond expectations. Preparatory and construction work was started in late 2015. All building permits were secured as planned. Recently, we have seen the start of piling work, i.e. ground improvement using vertical piles so that the ground can safely bear the future units of the coking complex weighing hundreds of tonnes. The number of ferro-concrete piles required on the DCU and HGU site is approximately 2,500, each with a diameter ranging from 0.4m to 0.8m and length of up to 25 meters.
In other parts of the EFRA Project construction site, foundation work for the new pipeline and cable trestle that will connect the new units with each other, with the refinery and with the new electrical substation building, has been completed.
Also in progress is the design work on the steel frame of the trestles and the construction of the substation building. The latter will supply and distribute power, and control the systems and equipment of the EFRA units. The construction site for two tanks for semi-finished products from the DCU unit is being prepared.
Depending on the nature of a given project or task, construction works started now will take from several weeks to several months. The entire project is scheduled for commissioning in 2018.
– For us, keeping to the schedule is of crucial importance. This is a complex and logistically demanding project as it is carried out alongside a refinery operating as usual. That is why we are strictly observing all deadlines, especially those related to permits and authorisations, to eliminate any potential delays. Steady progress is also ensured by our proven and reputable contractors, with many Polish companies among them – stresses Grzegorz Błędowski, EFRA Project Director in GRUPA LOTOS.
The main objective of the EFRA Project is to ensure a more efficient use of heavy residue, which is the heavy end of crude oil now used to make heavy fuel oil. The new units constructed under the EFRA Project perfectly supplement the existing oil processing line at the refinery in Gdańsk and will eventually enable a shift in its product mix from low-margin products towards more engine fuels.
With EFRA completed, the LOTOS refinery will have more flexibility in optimising production, which will strengthen its competitive position, also in the event of adverse movements in the market prices of crude oil and oil products.
The main facilities comprising the new complex will be the Delayed Coking Unit (DCU), Hydrogen Generation Unit (HGU), Coking Naphtha Hydrotreating Unit (CNHT), LPG Treatment Unit (LPGTU), Coke Logistics and Storage Facility (CS-LF), and Hydrowax Vacuum Distillation Unit (HVDU).
Once the EFRA Project (worth PLN 2.3bn) is implemented, LOTOS’s facility in Gdańsk will become the most advanced refinery in the EU. EFRA will also see the low-margin and environmentally-unfriendly heavy fuel oil completely eliminated from production. In its stead, LOTOS will be capable of producing up to 900,000 tonnes of additional fuels, chiefly diesel oil and aviation fuel.
Communications Office, Grupa LOTOS S.A., ul. Elbląska 135, 80-718 Gdańsk, Poland, tel. (+48) 58 308 87 31, (+48) 58 308 83 88, e-mail: email@example.com