Whitegate Oil Refinery
In Summer 2001, the Irish National Petroleum Company sold Whitegate refinery in Cork harbour and the oil terminal on Whiddy Island to Tosco Corporation for $100 million. Tosco Corp (now a subsidiary of Phillips), plans to spend 4% of its massive $839 million refining, marketing and transportation budget at Whitegate in 2002. This agreement promises to keep the refinery open for another 15 years, and to keep on all the staff with no redundancies.
The Whitegate plant produces 75,000 barrels of oil per day. Off the coast of the Cork Harbour there is an 8.5 million barrel, deep water crude oil and oil products storage complex located in Bantry Bay. Whitegate has been upgraded to produce low sulfur gasoline and diesel fuels and is able to provide improved efficiencies in feeding the US refining and supply system.
Whitegate refinery near Cork in southern Ireland is the country's only refinery. It is able to supply around 40% of the Republic of Ireland's fuel needs. In February 1997, the Irish Refining plc, took the decision to upgrade the refinery to 75,000 barrels per day. The upgrade cost an estimated £70 million (€86 million).
The lead contract for the upgrade was given to Foster Wheeler, the American contractor. This involved an engineering, procurement and contracting agreement. The upgrade will encompass the construction of new gasoline hydro-treater and isomerization units, along with modifications to the existing plant, for the production of automotive oil.
Another company involved in the project was US Filter. The American firm was involved in supplying a sulphur recovery system for the Irish plant. According to the supplier, a LO-CAT II H2S Oxidation System was selected for sulphur recovery based on the following criteria: 3 to 1 gas flowrate turndown, 3 to 1 H2S concentration turndown, H2S outlet concentration less than or equal to 10 ppmv, minimal operator attention, sulphur production suitable for agricultural use, and a reliable, proven process.
The LO-CAT II unit was custom designed to sweeten 6,800 scfm of gas at 70 psig, containing 1.8 vol% H2S and 80 vol% H2. The treated gas contains less than 10 ppmv H2S, allowing this offgas to be burned as fuel.
THE LOGISTICS OF WHITEGATE
Whitegate Oil Refinery has a throughput of 2.2 million tonnes per annum. The refinery terminal facilities were also recently upgraded. They can now accommodate tankers up to 100,000 tonnes total displacement at Berth No.1. The second berth caters for smaller coastal tankers up to 3,000 tonnes. Road loading facilities have been installed which cater for a variety of oil products.
Two ocean going tugs, with a bollard pull of 49 tonnes each, are retained at Whitegate Refinery in Cork Harbour, to assist in berthing large vessels.