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Sonatrach, ranked by Forbes as the world’s 12th largest oil company, is nearing completion of a new paraxylene crystallization plant at its integrated refinery/petrochemical site in Skikda, Algeria. Start-up is scheduled for December of 2013. 

The plant’s core units will utilize CrystPX℠ and GT-IsomPX℠, both licensed from GTC Technology.  CrystPX recovers paraxylene from reformate feedstock while GT-IsomPX, using ISOXYL® catalyst from Clariant, isomerizes C8 aromatics into additional paraxylene.  The license also includes naphtha hydrotreating and reforming, aromatics extraction, and other aromatics operations. Samsung Engineering Co., Ltd., provided EPC services for the new facilities.

The paraxylene plant was originally part of Sonatrach’s petrochemical subsidiary, Naftec, which Sonatrach absorbed in 2009. 

The new units continue Sonatrach’s long-term expansion plans for additional refining and petrochemical capacity at its facilities in Algeria to meet the growing local demand for oil products.