FCC unit enters restart mode at Venezuelan refinery

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) is the process of restarting the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit following a shutdown for preventative maintenance at its 146,000-b/d El Palito refinery near Puerto Cabello in Carabobo state.

Start-up activities at the FCC were under way as of Apr. 7, PDVSA said, adding that any flaring visible from the refinery during this time was in compliance with normal procedures for the unit’s safe restart.

The company disclosed neither a reason for the preventative maintenance nor the date on which the unit was shuttered.

While PDVSA confirmed its commitment to a timely and reliable delivery of fuel supplies to Venezuelan markets during the unit’s restart, a timeframe for when the FCC would return to normal operations remained unavailable.

The El Palito refinery’s FCC unit previously underwent an emergency shutdown in February following a disturbance in the unit’s compressed air system (OGJ Online, Feb. 27, 2015).

In 2014, the same FCC unit experienced a series of preventative maintenance closures related to equipment malfunctions in the unit’s regenerator (OGJ Online, June 11, 2014; May 6, 2014; Jan. 21, 2014).

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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