LARTC 2022: Refinery of the Year Shortlist
Published 07 September 2022
By Khanyisile Maswanganyi, Research Associate, World Refining Association
It’s been two years since we hosted our last live LARTC event, and we are excited to have all Latin America’s downstream industry leaders in one room again. After a wonderful 11 years of LARTC, this year we will be launching the Awards of Excellence to honour some of Latin America’s outstanding downstream industry leaders. One of the six awards that will be presented on the day is Refinery of the Year, which will see us recognising the industry’s standout refinery in 2022. The article will be profiling the shortlisted refineries and highlighting their achievements.
Previously known as the Landulpho Alves Refinery (RLAM), The Mataripe refinery is in São Francisco do Conde in the Mataripe district, in the North-East region of Brazil. The refinery was acquired by Mubadala Capital on the 1st of December 2021, and is currently being operated by Acelen, a company that was created to operate the Mataripe Refinery and continue to provide refined products to the Northeastern region of Brazil.
It was the first refinery to operate in Brazil and is currently the second largest with the highest established capacity. The refinery has capacity to process over 300 000 barrels of oil per day which amounts to 14% of Brazil’s total refining capacity .The refiner’s assets include 26 processing units, 4 storage terminals and 201 storage tanks, and 669 kilometres of pipeline that connects the refinery to port terminals . The refinery produces over 31 products, majority of which serve the mobility, transportation, chemical, pharmaceutical sectors, and the whole petrochemical chain. Some of the products they produce include diesel, gasoline, fuel oils, LPG etc.
The Barrancabermeja Refinery commenced operations on February 18, 1922 and celebrated their 100th year anniversary in February of this year. Owned and operated by Ecopetrol, Barrancabermeja is made up of 54 refining units, 32 industrial service units, and optimisation centre that allows remotely controlled operations, and about 315 storage tanks . The refinery is one the largest refineries in Columbia and processes about 225 000 barrels of crude oil per day. The main processes of the refinery include crude distillation, vacuum distillation, catalytic cracker, hydrocracker, reformer, hydrotreater and alkylation .
Ecopetrol announced in February 2021 that they would be investing US$777M towards upgrading the Barrancabermeja refinery over the next two years as part of their 2021-23 investment program . The money would be put towards conserving water, reducing emissions, and enhancing the quality of fuel production to meet the vision of Ecopetrol’s broader strategy to reduce the refinery’s influence on air, water, and soil and comply with the legal environmental regulations. Ecopetrol is continuously working on improving the Barrancabermeja refinery site as they previously invested US$ 181 million in 2020 to improve reliability, environmental legal compliance, the quality of fuel production, and health, safety, and environment.
As part of digitising their operations, Ecopetrol reported in their second quarter 2022 results that they conducted their first 5G pilot test in partnership with Accenture, Claro, and Microsoft to assist the refinery engineers with real time remote assistance, reducing three days of the overall maintenance schedule and improving optimisation. We are yet to see the many more improvements at the Barrancabermeja- refinery as part of Ecopetrol’s 2040 strategy “Energy that Transforms”.
Refinería de Barrancabermeja
Refinería AXION Campana
In 2017, BP and Bridas Corporation announced that they would be forming a new integrated energy business that would combine their interests in Pan American Energy and refiner and marketer Axion Energy. The new company, Pan American Energy Group (PAEG), became the largest privately-owned integrated company with operations in Argentina .
As part of their downstream operations, Axion refines fuels and manufactures lubricants for aviation, naval, passenger and freight transportation sectors, and have selected solutions for the agriculture sector. The Campana refinery’s crude processing capacity represents over 16% of Argentina’s total refining total. Axion contend that their Campana refinery is the most modern refinery in South America . This comes after the company invested US$1 500 million in 2019 to expand and modernise the refinery. Through the investment they were able to expand their production by 50% and reduce their sulphur dioxide emissions by 99%. They further state that they are the only refinery in Argentina capable of producing all the premium diesel demand in the country.
Axion also have the largest delayed coker plant in Argentina with a processing capacity of 235 000 litres per hour of pitch. The unit is installed with the latest technology that allows engineers to remotely operate the systems. The delayed coking plant is what allowed the refinery to increase production and converted the Campana refinery into a full conversion refinery .
We are proud to have Pan American Energy as a sponsor of this year’s awards as they continue to contribute towards not only the downstream sector but by also pioneering refinery advancements to improve their refining processes. The WRA will be on the lookout as they continue to expand and modernise the Campana refinery through various maintenance and digitisation project to maintain the status of being one of the most modern refineries in South America.
Raizen is a joint venture between Shell (50%) and Cosan (50%). Their assets include the Buenos Aires refinery in Dock Sud that produces 108, 000-b/d. Under the licensing agreement, Raizen markets Shell branded fuels in Argentina for customers to continue accessing Shell products and services .
Raizen announced an investment of US$ 715 million in 2020 that would go towards modernising and expanding operations at the Buenos Aires refinery between 2020-23. Part of the investment includes increasing the refinery’s capacity, upgrading existing units and processes, and enhancing energy efficiency and environmental practices at the refinery . In 2021, Raizen Argentina completed an US$ 8 million investment as part the 2020-23 investment plan that saw them commissioning a new plant that would produce 14 000 tones per year of aerosol propellant.
As part of their modernisation process, they contracted Axens to supply them with a modular 10 000-b/sd FCC gasoline hydrodesulphurization unit fitted with a technology that would allow the refinery to enhance the quality of its gasoline production to adhere to the Euro 5-quality fuel rules in Argentina. They further contracted KBR to provide them with a basic engineering package for the FCC New Configuration project. This will enable Raizen Argentina to achieve higher unit profitability, enhanced on-stream availability, and reduce carbon footprint.
Refinería Buenos Aires
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