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Czech Republic: Fire Disrupts Refining Operations Unipetrol Announces Investment in New Energy Block at Litvínova Site

| Editor: Alexander Stark

Unipetrol, the Czech Republic’s largest refining and petrochemical group, continues the modernization of its chemical plant in Záluží u Litvínova. Shortly after the announcement a fire occurred at the same site, disrupting refining operations.

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On 12 December 2017, a fire and explosion occured at the partial oxidation unit (POX) in Unipetrol's production plant in Litvínov – Záluží, the Czech Republic, which resulted in an unplanned shutdown of the POX unit and ammonia production unit.
On 12 December 2017, a fire and explosion occured at the partial oxidation unit (POX) in Unipetrol's production plant in Litvínov – Záluží, the Czech Republic, which resulted in an unplanned shutdown of the POX unit and ammonia production unit.
(Source: Unipetrol)

Litvínov/Czech Republic — The group’s management has signed a contract with the Austrian supply company Bertsch Energy for the construction of a new boiler house producing high pressure steam for the steam cracker unit. The construction will begin in the first quarter of next year. Completion of the construction is scheduled for 2020. The investment amounts to approx. $ 46 million.

The boiler house producing high pressure steam to ensure the operation of the steam cracker unit will undergo major upgrade. Its existing two boilers will be replaced by new ones. The efficiency of the two new boilers is by approximately three percent higher than the old ones. Moreover, they emit less polluting substances into the atmosphere, especially the emissions of nitrogen oxides (SCR DeNOx) and dust (reduced by using of electrostatic precipitators). The company will thus meet both, the requirements of the current Czech and EU legislation on air protection coming into force on July 1, 2020, and will to meet the stricter emission limits applicable to large combustion plants and based on the EU Conclusions on the Best Available Techniques (BAT) coming into force on August 1, 2021.

Turnkey Power Plant Construction

The construction of the new energy block will be carried out by Bertsch Energy, a company with Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) competences for power plants fired by a wide fuel spectrum including fossil fuels such as gas and oil, or even various biomass fuels. Based in Bludenz, Austria, the company specializes in tailor made solutions for the demand of the industrial customers focusing on highest efficiency in terms of performance and costs. At the Unipetrol site in Litvínov, Bertsch Energy will be responsible for the entire integration of a turnkey power plant consisting of two oil- and gas-fired high-pressure boilers (120 bar, 520°C, 2x105 t/h) including flue gas treatment, electrical & control system and civil works.

Fire and Explosion at Litvínov Plant

On 12 December 2017 a fire and explosion at the partial oxidation unit (POX) occurred in the production plant in Litvínov–Záluží, which resulted in an unplanned shutdown of the POX unit and ammonia production unit and partial reduction of crude oil processing in refineries at this location and in Kralupy nad Vltavou as well as in partial reduction of processing on the Steam Cracker Unit in Litvínov.

The fire was probably caused by a leak to the gas pipeline. There has been no injury or damage to the environment during the local fire, the company said.

The fire caused local damage to the POX unit, especially pipeline, cabling, and insulation. The production units of hydrogen and ammonia were shut down and the operation of the refinery is limited partially. According to the company's first estimates, the POX unit will be inspected, repaired and put back into operation in the coming weeks.

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