News Code : 45841

Petrotahlil - Iran-based Qeshm is due to start production at its new 935,000t/yr bitumen plant from this year's third quarter following pre-commissioning of the refinery last week.

The first phase of the 35,000 b/d Pars Behin Qeshm Oil Refinery was inaugurated on 14 January. The refinery is located at Qeshm island, near the strait of Hormuz that is the main waterway for transporting crude and oil products from Iran and other Mideast Gulf states.

The project has two phases with the first processing extra heavy crude with bitumen as the main product. The second phase uses lighter crude grades producing naphtha, kerosine and gasoil after hydrosulphur treating.

This refinery can produce penetration bitumen grades such as pen 40/50, 60/70 and 85/10. It expects to export at least 95pc of the bitumen production to the international market.

Extra heavy crude feedstock for the refinery will be supplied from the Soroosh and Nowrouz refineries. The feedstock supplies are expected to come in vessels to a jetty on Qeshem island and then transferred by pipelines to the Pars Behin Qeshm Oil Refinery. The port at the island is currently under construction.

This is expected to be Iran's first bitumen plant that will use extra heavy crude instead of vaccuum bottom feedstock for bitumen production. Further details were unavailable.

"We [expect] Iran's bitumen production volume will increase in the second half of the coming Iranian year when this refinery starts production and exports," said a domestic industry participant.

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