Shuaiba Refinery

Suaiba Refinery is considered the World’s First all hydrogen Refinery with full usage of Hydrogen Gas Manufactured from natural gas in Process Units and is capable of handling relatively high sulfur crude oils. The hydrogen gas plays a significant role in removing/reducing sulfur and nitrogen impurities from products as well as upgrading products quality to meet the required international product specifications
The Refinery is located within the Shuaiba Industrial Area, about 50 km south of Kuwait City and occupies an area of 1,332,000 m2.
The Construction of the refinery was started in 1966 and it was the first refinery built by a national company in the region. In April 1968, the refinery was officially commissioned and the first shipments were exported to Japan and other consumer countries a month later. The initial Crude Oil refining capacity of the refinery was 95,000 barrels per day (BPD). In 1975 an expansion project was implemented to increase the refining capacity to 180,000 BPD. Presently, Shuaiba Refinery is operating at a capacity of 200,000 BPD on a sustained basis.
Shuaiba Refinery process units were constructed by incorporating the latest available technological design. The refinery utilizes Hydro-cracking technology to produce high quality light products converted from heavy oils and has the capability of handling relatively high sulfur crude oils which required special processing technology. New plant facilities are also being added to improve performance and comply with Environmental requirements introduced at various stages.
Since its construction, Shuaiba Refinery has been highly flexible and capable of producing petroleum products with high technical specifications, for export to the International markets. This is due to the fact that, Hydrogen gas played an important role not only in removing/reducing Sulfur, nitrogen and other impurities from petroleum products but also in upgrading the products to meets the required international market specifications.
The Refinery produces various kinds light, medium and heavy petroleum products, mainly gas, Naphtha and various kinds of fuels such as high-octane Gasoline, Kerosene & Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK), Diesel, marine Diesel, Fuel oil and Sulfur.
Along with Mina Abdulla and Mina Al-Ahmadi refineries, Shuaiba provides the local market with its needs of petroleum products. However, the majority of the refinery products are destined for export to the world market. When it was established, Shuaiba was the first export refinery in Kuwait, due to its high quality products which conformed to the highly sophisticated specifications of the world markets.
Shuaiba Refinery, like other KNPC refineries, suffered extensive damage during the Iraqi Invasion of the State of Kuwait in 1990, particularly in the Crude Distillation Unit, Isocracker & Isomax Units, storage tanks, and oil export pier. As a result, the refinery was out of operation until October 1993 when repair works were completed and operations were resumed back.

Shuaiba Refinery consists of the following main units:
• Crude Distillation Unit,
• Hydrogen production unit,
• H-Oil Units,
• Gas Oil Cracking Units (Isocracker, Isomax)
• Naphtha Fractionation Unit,
• Naphtha Unifiner unit,
• Merox Unit,
• Kerosene Unifiner Unit,
• Light and Heavy Diesel Unifiner Units,
• Two Sulphur Recovery Units
• Tail Gas Treating Unit
• Utilities and support facilities.

Shuaiba Refinery is also equipped with a large number of storage tanks for crude oil and refined products. In all, it has 72 storage tanks (11.8 Million Barrels) of various products. For export of products, Shuaiba Refinery has an Oil Pier with three numbers of berths. For supply of products to Local Markets, there is a Truck Loading Facility at the refinery. Also, facility exists for supply of products to the local markets depots through pipelines. The three KNPC refineries are interconnected through Inter Refinery Transfer Lines for receipt and supply of Intermediate/Finished products.


Major Units at Shuaiba Refinery

Crude & Vacuum Unit (Unit-06)
Crude and Vacuum Unit is the primary Crude Fractionation Unit which processes Kuwait Export Crude. Crude unit is normally operated at 200,000 BPD. The crude oil is fractionated in to Naphtha, Kerosene, Light Diesel, heavy Diesel, Vacuum Gas Oil and Vacuum Bottoms which are further processed in the following downstream units.
Naphtha : Naphtha Fractionation Unit
Kerosene : Kero Unifiner & Merox Treating Unit
Light Diesel : Diesel Unifiner Unit
Heavy Diesel : Diesel Unifiner & Isocracker Unit
Vacuum Gas Oil: Isocracker Unit
Vacuum Bottoms: H-Oil Unit
The major secondary processing, treating & support Units are as follows:

H-Oil Unit:
H-Oil unit process about 54,000 BPD of Vacuum Bottoms from Crude Unit. By hydro cracking it converts about 50% of the heavy feed into high value distillates mainly Naphtha, Kerosene, Diesel and Fuel Oil. The unit consists of two independent trains. Each trains has a separate reactor section with a common fractionation and Vacuum distillation facility.

Isocracker & Isomax Units:
Isocracker and Isomax Units are designed to process a mixture of Heavy Gas Oil and Heavy Diesel from Crude Unit, Unifiner bottom from Gas Oil Unifiner and LVGO from H-Oil Vacuum Unit. Isocracker Unit is normally operated as first stage hydrocracker and Isomax as second stage. Isomax Unit receives feed from the fractionator bottom of Isocracker Unit. The products are mainly Naphtha, Kerosene/ATK/JP5 and High Pour Diesel.

Catalytic Reforming Unit:
This unit is intended for the production of Reformate, which is a high octane Motor Gasoline blending component, from Naphtha. The unit mainly consists of three reactors using catalyst containing noble metals.

There are four Unifiner to hydro-desulfurize Naphtha, Kerosene, Light Diesel and Heavy Diesel.
Kero Merox Unit:
This unit sweetens the Kerosene from Naphtha fractionation Unit to produce ATK product.


Sulfur Recovery Unit & Tail Gas Treating Unit (TGTU):
There are two Sulfur Recovery Units, each capable of processing 19.2 MMSCFD of Acid Gas for production of 600 LTPD elemental Sulfur. H2S gas is treated with controlled amount of air in the presence of catalyst to produce liquid Sulfur. The common TGTU (Clauspol process) is provided downstream of Sulfur Recovery unit to enhance the efficiency of sulfur recovery.

Hydrogen Manufacturing Unit:
Hydrogen Manufacturing facility consists of three identical Steam/Gas reforming Units that can each produce 74 MMSCFD of 95% pure hydrogen product.

Flare Gas Recovery Unit:
The objective of the unit is to recover the gases flared from the units and utilize it as fuel gas after necessary treatment to remove H2S.


Acid Gas Recovery unit:
The unit is designed to treat West Field Gases from KOC to remove H2S and CO2. The treated gases are routed to the LPG plant at Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery and the acid gases are routed to SRU for recovering the Sulfur.


  Process Units No. Of Units Design Capacity
  Crude Distillation Unit


200.000 BPD
  Hydrogen Manufacturing Units


222 MMSCF/D (H2 production)
  Catalytic Reforming Unit


15800 BPD
  ISO Cracker Unit


46000 BP/D
  ISO Max Unit (with recycle)


36000 BPD
  H- Oil Unit (A & B Trains)


54000 BPD
  Naphtha Fractionation Unit


65000 BP/D
  Naphtha Unifining Unit


26000 BPD
  Kerosene Unifining Unit


35000 BPD
  Light Diesel Unifining Unit


17000 BPD
  Heavy Diesel Unifining Unit


12000 BPD
  Kerosene Merox Unit


20000 BPD
  Sulphur Recovery Plant


600 LT/D (each)
  Acid Gas Removal Plant


  Tail Gas Treating Unit


69216 NM3/Hr
  H-Oil Vacuum Distillation Unit


46000 BPD
KPC Contact Information

Tel: +(965) 1 85 85 85
P.O. Box: 26565,
Postal Code: No. 13126, Safat, Kuwait

All Rights reserved Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) © 2019