Statoil Has Started Expansion of Vestprosess at Mongstad

Work has started on upgrading the Vestprosess facilities at Statoil's Mongstad refinery near Bergen, with preliminary engineering under way at Kvaerner. Capacity in the plant is to be almost doubled in order to accept natural gas liquids from the Kvitebjorn and Visund fields in the North Sea from 2004 and 2005 respectively. The total cost of the expansion is put at just over NOK 500 million.

"This will reinforce our already strong position in the European market for liquefied petroleum gases," says Thor Inge Willumsen, senior vice president for oil trading and supply. "Vestprosess will gain increased significance as a major export facility for propane and butane."

In addition to preliminary engineering, the contract with Kvaerner E&C contains an option for work relating to the actual upgrading. This is due to start early next year. Kvaerner E&C's office in the Netherlands will be in charge of the assignment.

Vestprosess vice president John Stangenes notes that the facilities have achieved very high operating regularity since they came on stream in 1999 to produce propane, butane and naphtha. The core of the plant is a distillation unit for NGLs which can process about 175 tons of feedstock per hour. After the upgrading, it will be able to handle roughly 335 tons per hour.


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