Unplanned maintenance under way at Venezuelan refinery

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) said unplanned maintenance to a reformer at its at its 190,000-b/d Puerto La Cruz refinery in eastern Venezuela is nearing completion.

Repairs to the reformer, which processes naphtha to produced high-octane components for gasoline blending, are scheduled to be completed by the end of July, the state-owned company said.

The unplanned maintenance event resulted from an obstruction in the unit, according to PDVSA, which did not disclose details regarding the nature of the obstruction or the date on which it occurred.

PDVSA did, however, bring forward planned preventative maintenance to a catalyst regeneration system at the refinery that originally was scheduled to take place in August.

While the company did not reveal impacts to production levels at the refinery as a result of the maintenance event, PDVSA did say it has taken precautions to prevent supply disruptions to local markets served by the refinery.

Last year, PDVSA began construction activities at Puerto La Cruz for a long-planned expansion and modernization project that will include the remodeling of existing installations and equipment at the refinery as well as some construction to improve the yield of higher-quality products from a heavier slate of crude oil feedstocks (OGJ Online, July 21, 2014).

Upon completion of the deep-conversion project in June 2018, the refinery, which now runs light and medium crude oil, will be able to process 210,000 b/d of heavy and extra-heavy crude oil from Venezuela’s Orinoco region (OGJ Online, Apr. 22, 2015).

PDVSA previously said the deep-conversion project at Puerto La Cruz would require a total investment of $5.2 billion and involve the following new construction:

• A two-train, 50,000-b/d deep-conversion unit based on HDH Plus technology developed by Intevep, PDVSA’s research unit.

• A three-train sequential hydroprocessing unit.

• A 130,000-b/d three-train vacuum unit.

• Associated auxiliary units, service units, interconnections, and tanks.

The modernization project also will include the upgrading of the refinery’s two atmospheric distillation units.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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