Al Ahmadi, Kuwait

REE audit in the Mina Al-Ahmadi refinery

[ Published in HOERBIGER@MOTION April 2014 ]

Clean fuel is a central corporate goal of Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC). The state-owned enterprise not only strives to use state-of-the-art technology to produce primarily sulfur-free clean fuels. In the production process itself, energy efficiency and protecting the environment are likewise high on the agenda.

Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) is Kuwait’s largest refinery operator. With its network of three refineries, Mina Abdulla, Mina Al-Ahmadi and Shuaiba, KNPC has the greatest refinery capacity in the Middle East. A million barrels of crude oil are refined here daily. Nearly half the daily production volume comes from the largest refinery, Mina Al-Ahmadi.

As a state-owned enterprise, KNPC is obligated to actively support current government programs to reduce emission, conserve energy and utilize environmentally-friendly production processes. Broken down into the individual production and organizational areas in the three KNPC refineries, the modernization and upgrade of the refineries are part of a major corporate vision for the future.

In order to achieve the resulting ambitious emissions and efficiency targets, the operators of the KNPC refineries have called on external consultants, notably when special expertise is needed. Over decades, HOERBIGER has developed expertise in compressors and their performance-defining components such as valves, rings and packings, as well as controllers, and has now applied this knowledge to the REE audit. At the customer’s site, the certified audit team reviews whether and at what cost a compressor can be optimized with respect to Reliability, Efficiency and Environmental soundness, in short called REE. At the conclusion of the REE audit, HOERBIGER provides the customer with concrete suggestions for improvements. Then HOERBIGER and the customer work out an implementation plan together.

This new service attracted great interest at KNPC. At the end of February 2013, the HOERBIGER REE team went to work in the Mina Al-Ahmadi refinery with a detailed analysis of each individual compressor, resulting in numerous options for improvement. The theoretical potential was then compared to the HOERBIGER database. Thus the REE team could find a performance optimum for each of the 40 reciprocating compressors in the Mina Al-Ahmadi refinery.

The experienced maintenance team led by Tareq Y. Al-Saifan was impressed. “We thought we knew everything about our compressors and how to employ them optimally. HOERBIGER’s REE team impressively demonstrated how much more knowledge could be extracted from the operating data and inspection of every single machine.

KNPC managers themselves must determine the time lines for possible improvements. They can improve the system precisely at those points where the potential identified in the REE audit provides the greatest benefit. For Tareq Y. Al-Saifan, the customer’s freedom to interpret the results and apply the best possible measure as seen fit is equated with a high level of objectivity.

“We need competent and innovative advisors who take into account the welfare of the entire plant. The HOERBIGER team showed us more about the compressors' performance and their capabilities during different operating states than all previous compressor experts advising KNPC.”


HOERBIGER has supported KNPC for over 15 years with its compressors services. Previously HOERBIGER’s service facilities in Kuwait and Dubai supplied the KNPC refineries with spare parts. In addition, the components installed in the compressors were serviced at HOERBIGER facilities. At KNPC, reciprocating compressors are primarily employed in the production of hydrogen required to desulfurize crude oil during refining.