The Venezuelan national petroleum company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) has awarded Japan-based Toyo Engineering Corporation and its consortium partners Foster Wheeler AG (FW) and the Venezuelan engineering company Y&V Ingeniería y Construcción, C.A. (Y&V) a more than 4-year contract for detailed engineering, procurement services and construction management for a major refinery expansion project at its El Palito Refinery in Carabobo State.
According to Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Venezuela had 211 billion barrels of proven oil reserves in 2011, the second largest the world. This number represents a major upward revision from 99.4 billion barrels in 2010, due to the the inclusion of the massive reserves of extra-heavy oil in Venezuela’s Orinoco belt.
The US Energy Information Administration notes that Venezuela contains billions of barrels in extra-heavy crude oil and bitumen deposits, most of which are situated in the Orinoco Belt in central Venezuela. The US Geological Survey has pegged the mean estimate of recoverable oil resources from the Orinoco Belt at 513 billion barrels of crude oil.
This project is aiming to double the processing capacity of the refinery by building a new facility to process the heavy crude oil abundantly produced from the Orinoco Belt of the country. The new refinery processes heavy crude oil (140,000 BPSD) and part of the products from the existing refinery (140,000 BPSD) is to be further treated in the new refinery as well.
The project also aims to improve quality of the product and to meet higher environmental standards and increasing demand in Venezuela, as well as for export.
Heavy crude oil processing units to be placed at El Palito Refinery include:
- Atmospheric Distillation
- Vacuum Distillation
- Continuous Catalyst Regeneration
- Sulfur Recovery
- Hydrogen Production
- Tank yard and other auxiliary facilities.