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Brazilian and Venezuelan updates

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The first stages of upgrades being carried out at the Vargas Refinery are now complete. A ceremony to celebrate the completion was held in mid March. The upgrades are being carried out to allow the refinery to produce diesel and gasoline with low sulfur content. Petrobras, who own the refinery, will now be able to produce products that meet strict international laws. Total investment for the upgrades are likely to reach US$ 5.4 billion and are expected to be complete by 2012.

Brazil’s government has announced plans to increase investment in the refining industry in an attempt to upgrade oil product output. These investments will also help recover struggling refineries and make Brazil an even more prominent exporter of refined products from the presalt layer oil reserves.

Venezuela has signed a contract to supply crude to Belarusian refineries. This extends a current contract between the two countries which includes Venezuela sending approximately 20 000 bpd of crude to a joint venture refinery in Venezuela. Venezuela is also going to jointly sell and produce oil products within the European market under the new contract with Belarus. Despite warnings in early January that the Venezuela government would give up operational control of the Isla refinery, the government has decided to keep the facility up and running. The plant is located on Curacao, a Dutch island off the Caribbean coast of the country.

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