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World largest crude distillation column berths at Dangote Jetty

Dangote refinery says it has taken delivery of the world’s largest crude distillation column designed for crude oil processing.

The distillation column which arrived yesterday, according to the firm is the largest in terms of its capacity for processing 650,000 barrels per day(bpd) as the world’s largest single train refining column.

The equipment weighs 2250MT; and is 112.5m in length,; 14.036m in width,; and has a height of 13.752m; excluding the weight of its internal trays of approximately. 536 MT.

Capt Rajen Sachar, Head, Maritime and Ports Infrastructure of Dangote Refinery, Capt Rajen Sacher, while taken delivery of the equipment said it is the biggest single-train facility used for crude refining.
The refinery equipment which was manufactured by Sinopec of China is the primary unit processor of crude oil into fuels.

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Sachar explained that crude oil consists of various chemical components that have different molecular sizes, weights and boiling temperatures.

He added that the newly acquired distillation column works on the principle of fractional distillation leading to separation of various components in the mixture on the basis of their different boiling points.

“Crude oil enters the top of the column, where the inlet temperature is 165 deg C gradually increasing to 357 deg C at the bottom of the column.

“During this passage the crude and its vapours pass through a complex web of internal trays to increase the contact time and surface area within the column with the hot vapours travelling upwards through bubble caps which allow the vapour to pass through the tray with the cooler liquid flowing downward the column.

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When the vapour reaches the height within the column where its boiling point is equal to the temperature of the column at that height it condenses to form a liquid.

The liquid then collects on various trays in the column at differing heights from where it is extracted out of the column. It is therefore critical to control the heat load of the column to optimize the crude crack.

These separated fractions are mainly middle distillates namely, Naphtha, Jet Fuel, Kerosene, Gasoline and Gas Oil,” Sachar added.

The company’s captain said that the refinery when completed will produce Euro-V quality gasoline and diesel, as well as jet fuel and polypropylene, adding that that the crude column will enhance the economy of Nigeria and all neighbouring countries in Africa by making available refined petroleum products meeting world standards emission norms of Euro 5 and Euro 6.

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Sacher said the strategic location of Nigeria in West Africa continent will help in reducing the transportation costs of these fuels to other countries in the African subcontinent.

He said that crude oil processor took 14 months to construct by Sinopec company in China and eight weeks to sail it down to Nigeria.

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