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After the discovery of crude oil in Masjed Soleiman in 1909, due to the proximity to the oil fields, being surrounded by Arvand and Bahmanshir rivers and accessibility to open water, 71 km from the Persian Gulf Abadan Island was chosen in order to build an oil refinery. For this purpose, the construction of Abadan Refinery began in 1910 and it started operating in 1912 with the capacity of 2500 bpd as the first oil refinery in the Middle East.

During the First World War, Abadan refinery was expanded to provide fuel for warships.

• The development of Abadan refinery accelerated in 1932 after cancelling ANGELO IRANIAN contract and signing the new oil contract. For this purpose, Abadan Institute of Technology established in 1939.

• In World War II, after the Allies lost the Burmese oil and refinery, more attention was paid to the expansion of Abadan refinery and it became the largest refinery in the world. Due to the supply and delivery of aircraft gasoline during the war with the amount of 25,000 barrels per day, the refinery became famous throughout the world in such a way that the supply of gasoline to the Allied warplane from Abadan refinery had a significant role in their victory.   

• After the nationalization of the oil industry in 1951 and the departure of foreigners in 1952, the supply of petroleum products for domestic use, maintenance and industrial protection of this huge refinery was entrusted to the employees working at that time.

In 1954 a contract was signed with the International Oil Consortium. According to this contract, the products of Abadan refinery were once again sent to international markets up to 300,000 barrels per day. During this contract, small and old devices were removed and replaced by larger devices and their capacity was added.

• During Cham contract, as a result of which, crude oil exports were concentrated on Khark Island, and as a result, Mahshahr port, which was a crude oil export terminal, was assigned to Abadan refinery. The above project was inaugurated in 1967 and put into operation immediately.

• On July 31, 1973, with the signing of the Law on the Sovereignty of Iran over Oil Resources, the management and control of Abadan Refinery came under the direct supervision of the National Iranian Oil Company.

• After the management and control of the refinery by the National Iranian Oil Company, the development plan of Abadan refinery was increased from 460,000 barrels per day to 600,000 barrels per day and immediately approved and the design and construction works of this project were completed in June 1977. With this expansion, Abadan refinery regained its global status and became the largest refinery in the world.

• On September 22, 1980, all the industrial and non-industrial parts of the Abadan refinery were bombarded and shelled by the Iraqi army and went out of serivice and failed to provide production and services.

In that situation, the employees of Abadan Refinery, by forming various headquarters, including the headquarters of goods and their round-the-clock efforts, were able to empty the refinery equipment of petroleum products and transfer billions of dollars of special equipment and parts to safe places. Abadan refinery dedicated 244 martyrs during the imposed war.

• Before the imposed war, Abadan refinery had four distillation machines with a capacity of approximately 100,000 barrels per day, a distillation unit with a capacity of 130,000 barrels per day, a large number of production and refining units of various products and 850 oil storage tanks. The units were demolished, and after the adoption of the resolution, the first phase of the refinery was reconstructed with a capacity of 130,000 barrels per day.

Following the commissioning of the first phase, other refinery equipment including distillation units 70, 80, 75, vacuum distillation units 60 and 55, catalytic conversion, gas separation, catalytic cracker, solvent preparation and oil factory with the efforts of refinery staff were put into production and currently, it produces the following products with a capacity of 400,000 barrels per day: 1- Liquefied Petroleum Gas 2- Motor gasoline 3- Kerosene 4- Gas oil 5- Jet fuel 6- Fuel oil 7- various types of base engine oils 8- various types of bitumen 9- various types of petroleum solvents 10- Sulfur 11- Naphtha (aromatic feed of Bandar Emam petrochemical Company) 12- Gas (feed of Abadan petrochemical Company)

The development plan of Abadan refinery includes three phases:

• In the first phase of the development plan, the capacity of the distillation unit 85 increased from 130000 to 180000 barrels per day, and in order to reduce the fuel oil and provide the feed of the catalytic cracking unit the vacuum distillation unit 200 with a capacity of 70000 barrels per day and the visbreaker unit with a capacity of 25000 barrels per day were put into operation in 2005.

• In the second phase, the plan to stabilize the current capacity and improve the quality of the refinery products was taken into account. In this phase, the projects of atmospheric and vacuum distillation units, refining units of gasoline, kerosene, gas oil and sulfur, construction of the second catalytic cracking complex, increase of gasoline and other ancillary units are being pursued by the Iranian Oil Engineering & Construction co. 

• The third phase includes the construction of the Catalytic Cracking and Alkylation Units, butane isomerization and the reconstruction of the acid unit. The aim of this project is to produce more gasoline and reduce fuel oil. Gasoline production will increase by 6 million liters per day after the implementation of this project.

• In future development plans, paying attention to environmental issues is of particular importance. Different types of filters and scrubbers will be used to prevent air pollution, industrial wastewater treatment and closed circuit system of cooling water. Due to the fact that these units have new technology, the amount of energy waste will be minimized by constructing and operating a wastewater treatment unit and the problem of water pollution in Arvand River will be completely eliminated.