Petrobras initiates start-up of units at Abreu e Lima refinery

Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has received permission to commission units at its Abreu e Lima refinery (Rnest) at the port of Suape, near Recife, the capital of Pernambuco state.

Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) officially authorized Petrobras to begin operation of Rnest’s atmospheric distillation, caustic treatment, and naphtha hydrotreating units on Nov. 17, the company said.

ANP also granted Petrobras permission for the company to begin operating Rnest’s first train of six tanks, which have a combined storage capacity of more than 500,000 cu m, Petrobras said.

Once fully operational, Rnest, which began start-up activities as of Nov. 18, will have the capacity to process 230,000 b/d of 16° API crude for the production of mainly low-sulfur diesel, but also naphtha, petroleum coke, LPG, and heavy coker gas oil.

The refinery will be commissioned in two 115,000-b/d phases, with start-up for the second phase scheduled for 2015 (OGJ Online, Nov. 6, 2014).

Construction on the refinery, in which Petrobras was to hold a 60% stake alongside Venezuela’s state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), who was to hold the remaining 40%, began in 2007 but faced repeated delays in order to negotiate better prices for some of the refinery’s systems (OGJ Online, Apr. 16, 2010).

Petrobras took full control of the project in late October 2013 following a series of delays by PDVSA to fund its share of the project (OGJ Online, July 29, 2011).

According to information made available on Petrobras’ web site, the fully commissioned Abreu e Lima refinery will include two units each for the following processes: atmospheric distillation, delayed coking, diesel hydrotreating, naphtha hydrotreating, hydrogen generation, and emissions abatement.

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