PDVSA advances modernization of Puerto La Cruz refinery

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) has received the last batch of bulk equipment from Wison Offshore & Marine Ltd., Shanghai, for work related to the long-planned expansion and deep-conversion modernization project at its 190,000-b/d Puerto La Cruz refinery in eastern Venezuela (OGJ Online, Apr. 22, 2015).

Wison Offshore completed its final delivery of key modularized components following the load-out of the last batch of modules on Oct. 10, the service company said.

This delivery marks the last of nine batches delivered to Puerto La Cruz that, occurring over 20 months, included a total of 94 modules and other bulk parts weighing an overall 26,000 tonnes in fulfillment of a contract awarded to Wison Offshore by the consortium of Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. 72%, Hyundai Engineering Co. Ltd. 18%, and Wison Engineering Ltd. 10% that holds the $4.8-billion engineering, procurement, and construction contract for the deep-conversion project (OGJ Online, July 1, 2014).

All delivered modules will be incorporated as part of PDVSA’s deep-conversion project at Puerto La Cruz in 11 parts of the refinery, including its hydrogen treatment installations, vacuum distillation unit, cooling water-system unit, wastewater-system unit, and flare-system unit, Wison Offshore said.

Project overview

The Puerto La Cruz refinery’s deep-conversion project, on which construction officially began in 2014, entails 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 feedstock (OGJ Online, July 21, 2014).

Upon project completion 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.

As currently planned, the deep-conversion project at Puerto La Cruz will involve construction of 25 total new processing plants, including the following:

• A two-train, 50,000-b/d deep-conversion unit based on HDHPlus 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, according to PDVSA.

To date, PDVSA has advanced a number of projects associated with Puerto La Cruz’s deep-conversion overhaul, the most recent of which include start of construction on 110 modules of piping that will connect the new HDHPlus residue hydroconversion unit to a new flare system and ongoing installation of a new sour-water stripper (Unit 84), the state-owned operator said in Aug. 22 and May 28 releases, respectively.

While PDVSA said in 2012 it expected a total required investment of $5.2 billion to complete the deep-conversion project at Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro confirmed earlier this year that the project is now budgeted at $8.8 billion, according to an Apr. 28 from PDVSA.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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