Clean Fuel Project’s expansion works in Thailand will double its crude oil processing capacity

Source: press release, 24 August 2022

Sarens has been involved in the lifting and install of pre-assembled rack modules for the Thailoil refinery upgrade (photos: Sarens)

The Thailoil refinery, located in Laemchabang, near Bangkok, will increase production from 275,000 to 400,000 barrels per day, positioning Thailand as Asia’s leading crude oil processing hub.

The USD 4.8 billion plant expansion and upgrading project, which will include the installation of new heavy crude processing units, will be completed in 2023.

Sarens, global provider of heavy lifting, engineered transport and crane rental, has been involved in the lifting and install of pre-assembled rack modules ranging from 104 to 392 tonnes.

Thailoil’s ongoing expansion and upgrading works at its Laemchabang plant (Chonburi province, approximately 125 km from Bangkok) will enable the state-owned oil company to increase its crude oil processing capacity from 275,000 barrels per day to an estimated 400,000 barrels per day upon completion in 2023.

These expansion works have required an estimated investment of USD 4.8 billion since project approval in 2018, to upgrade from a light crude processing plant to include, among others, a crude distillation unit (CDU), a hydrogen manufacturing unit, and an energy recovery unit (ERU). This latter unit will generate up to 250 MW of electricity and 175 tonnes of steam per hour, which will cover the energy needs of the rest of the plant.

Part of the plant expansion work, also known as the Clean Fuel Project, involves the installation of new pre-assembled rack modules (PAR). STP&I, a publicly owned company specialising in the design and construction of steel structures, sought Sarens’ collaboration for the lifting and assembly of various PAR units of between 104 and 392 tonnes at the new Thailoil facilities.

For this operation, Sarens chose its Terex-Demag CC6800 crane, a crawler crane model with a maximum load capacity of 1250 tons, which had to be adapted with the manufacture of a multi lug spreader bar arrangement to ensure safe lifting operations for the two heaviest modules of 380.7 and 391.9 tonnes. Both modules had different lug points, which needed to be fixed to the crane to prevent unwanted movement or detachment during the process.

Once operational in 2023, this plant will enable Thailand to become a major crude oil processing hub in Asia, improving the quality of fuels consumed in the country, increasing energy independence from third countries, while reducing the environmental footprint of cargo ships transporting processed crude oil from those countries to Thailand.

Sarens has more than 60 years of international experience in the development and installation of strategically important projects. In the energy sector, Sarens has been directly involved in the expansion of the S-Oil plant in Ulsan, South Korea, in the construction of the Petroperu refinery in Talara (Peru), and in the Skikda refinery in Algeria.