Iranian state refiner NIORDC has begun test operations on the third 120,000 b/d condensate splitter at the Persian Gulf Star plant near the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas and is working to have the unit fully online by the end of the Iranian calendar year on 20 March 2019. Unlike conventional splitter plants, the PGS units deliver naphtha into a reformer for processing further into reformate, a key blending component for gasoline. NIORDC is already operating two phases of PGS, the first being brought online in April 2017 and the second in February this year. The PGS project is central to Iran’s bid to eliminate gasoline imports, which have averaged 55,000 b/d in the first seven months of 2018. Each phase can produce up to 77,000 b/d of gasoline.

NIORDC announced a plan for a fourth PGS splitter, which would enable Iran to become self-reliant in gasoline, a politically sensitive issue after the return of international sanctions against Iran beginning next month (MEES, 14 September). (CONTINUED - 161 WORDS)