Fire hits Pemex’s Tula refinery

Operations remain ongoing at Petroleos Mexicanos’ (Pemex) 315,000-b/d Miguel Hidalgo refinery in Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico, after an early morning fire broke out at the production site on Sept. 9.

The fire, which occurred following a leak of an unidentified substance from a fractured vent line in the area of the refinery’s burners at about 1:55 a.m. local time, was controlled and extinguished by 5:00 a.m., Pemex said.

After extinguishing the fire and cooling adjacent piping in the impacted area, Pemex crews planned to isolate the damaged line to begin inspections and repairs, according to the company’s latest update.

No injuries occurred as a result of the incident, and production at the site has not been impacted, Pemex said.

This marks second fire-related event at the Tula refinery this year.

On Mar. 6, fire broke out in a leaking hydrogen compressor at the refinery’s resid hydrodesulfurization, resulting in minor damages and only a brief interruption to production (OGJ Online, Mar. 9, 2015).

Tula reconfiguration, modernization

State-owned Pemex continues to progress with work at the Tula refinery related to the company’s previously announced $2.8-billion investment into the country’s Clean Fuels Project (CFP), which intends to increase ultralow-sulfur diesel (ULSD) production at five of the country’s refineries (OGJ Online, Sept. 15, 2014).

Most recently, Pemex let a $560-million contract to ACS Group for installation of a 30,000-b/d ULSD plant at the refinery, which comes as part of a first phase of CFP’s goal to lower Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12,000 tpy construction of new and modernization of existing plants to reduce the sulfur content of Mexico’s diesel production to 15 ppm from 500 ppm (OGJ Online, Oct. 14, 2014).

As of late April, installation of the unit at Tula was more than 85% concluded, with construction due to be completed by the end of third-quarter 2015, Pemex said.

A project to expand and modernize the Tula refinery also remains under way (OGJ Online, Sept. 25, 2013).

Pemex let the latest contract for that project to Fluor Corp. unit ICA Fluor’s industrial engineering-construction joint venture with Empresas ICA SAB de CV for detailed engineering, procurement and construction services for an 86,000-b/d delayed coker at Tula (OGJ Online, Dec. 4, 2014).

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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