Northern Greece's sole refinery, Hellenic Petroleum's Thessaloniki Refinery serves the local market as well as Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, and Bulgaria. Designed by Esso Research and Engineering Co. and built by Arthur McKee Co. in 1966, the refinery had an initial capacity of 55,000 bpsd and processed Arabian Light crude. In 1971, the refinery's capacity increased to 70,000 bpsd. It now processes Arabian and Russian crudes.
The hydroskimming refinery (atmospheric distillation) operates in conjunction with Hellenic's Aspropyrgos and Elefsina refineries as an integrated production unit, the company states. Major process units at the facility include vacuum distillation, desulfurization, naphtha reforming, and hydro-desulfurization units. In addition, the refinery boasts two tanker loading stations with 41 berths.
The refinery produces gasoline, LPG, white spirit, jet fuel, automotive diesel oil, heating oil, heavy fuel oil, vacuum gas oil, and asphalt. It is connected to the Aspropyrgos and Elefsina refineries via fuel pipelines to the contiguous storage facilities of the oil products retail partners.
Aiming to bolster the refinery's capability to produce low-sulfur fuels, Hellenic has launched an estimated EUR150-million upgrading project at Thessaloniki. Under EPCM contracts announced in July 2008, Foster Wheeler Ltd.'s Italian and Greek subsidiaries will effect the upgrade by doing the following:
- Modify the facility's existing atmospheric distillation unit in order to switch the operation from high- to low-sulfur crudes. The unit's capacity will rise from 75,000 b/d to 83,000 b/d (for medium-sulfur crudes).
- Install a new 15,000-b/d continuous catalytic reformer to increase the facility's gasoline production 50%.
- Revamp the existing naphtha hydrofiner and crude light ends processing unit to increase to 26,000 bpsd the refinery's processing capacity for the light products.
Hellenic is also adding crude tankage capacity at Thessaloniki to ensure uninterrupted supply and flexibility in
crude qualities processing.
The upgrade project will increase the refinery's Nelson Complexity Index from 6.7 to 7.3. The facility's overall capacity will remain 70,000 bpsd, but this figure assumes Tengiz crude--rather than Arabian Light--as feed.
In its earnings report for the first half and second quarter of 2010, Hellenic reported the project was "scheduled for mechanical completion before the end of 2010." Also, the company noted that the facility will be shut down during First Quarter 2011 for a planned maintenance and tie-ins.