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Record investment in refinery maintenance for Petrobras

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Petrobras beat its record investment in preventative maintenance shutdowns at its refineries in the year 2021, spending R$2.3 billion. The figure represents an increase of more than 50% compared to 2020 and more than 20% compared to the previous record reached in 2019.

“We invest heavily in a culture of prevention and always seek excellence in safety. In addition to the maintenance programme shutdowns, we carry out intensive training of employees and frequent drills at our units. Our main objective is to guarantee safety and operational continuity, as well as to adapt the production capacities of the units, seeking the most efficient and safe use of assets”, highlighted Rodrigo Costa, Director of Refining and Natural Gas at Petrobras.

Even with several scheduled maintenance shutdowns, Petrobras reached an average of 83% of total utilisation factor of its refineries in 2021, the highest rate in the last five years, which shows the efficiency gained in the management of the units.

Investments in prevention also allow Petrobras refineries to be a reference in safety. One of the most used indicators in the oil sector to measure the safety of an industrial unit is the recordable accident rate per million man-hours (TAR). The average TAR of companies in the first quartile is 0.54, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. At Petrobras, the TAR for refining in 2021 was 0.36, well below the world benchmark.

Scheduled shutdowns are major interventions in refineries, in which the maintenance of several industrial units is carried out, with inspections and repairs, or replacement of equipment, among other activities. In all, more than 4000 pieces of equipment underwent inspection and maintenance during the company's refinery shutdowns in 2021. Petrobras plans an even greater challenge for the year 2022, in which expenditures of around R$2.5 billion are expected.

Future investments

In its Strategic Plan 2022 – 2026, US$6.1 billion in refining investments are foreseen over the next five years. Projects will be implemented to position the company among the best refiners in the world, in terms of efficiency and operational performance, with products with higher added value and lower carbon emissions.

One of the planned projects is to expand production capacity, especially for high-quality derivatives, such as S-10 diesel. The Strategic Plan includes three major expansion projects: completion of the second unit (train) of the Abreu e Lima Refinery – Rnest, which will increase the production capacity of S-10 diesel by 95 000 bpd; the integration between the Duque de Caxias Refinery (Reduc) and GasLub Itaboraí, with an additional capacity of 93 000 bpd of S-10 diesel and aviation kerosene (QAV) and 12 000 bpd of higher-quality lubricants; and a new hydrotreatment unit at its REPLAN petroleum refinery.

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