Ecopetrol inaugurates expanded Cartagena refinery, Sinopec Jiujiang refinery completes expansion

Colombia’s state-owned oil company Ecopetrol S.A. inaugurated a newly expanded refinery capable of processing 165,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil.

The upgraded Cartagena Refinery (Reficar), which will be fully operational by March 2016 at the latest, was revamped and expanded at a cost of slightly more than USD 8 billion.

The refinery could account for as much as 1% of Colombia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 10% of industrial GDP, President Juan Manuel Santos said during the inaugural ceremony.

The refinery will be capable of producing diesel fuel with a low sulphur content of 10 parts per million (ppm), from 2,400 ppm previously. With regards to gasoline production, sulphur content will be less than 50 ppm, from 800 ppm.

Those upgrades will make the refinery one of the world’s most efficient in terms of ecosystem impact, Santos said.

“We’re going to be much more efficient, much more competitive, and that will increase the Finance Ministry’s resources,” Santos said.

In related news, China’s Sinopec Corp. said it has completed expansion of its Sinopec Jiujiang refinery in Jiangxi province in eastern China, by adding a 100,000-bpd crude distillation unit, raising its capacity by 20%.

In addition to the 100,000-bpd crude distillation unit, new facilities at the plant include a 1.7 million tonne-per-year residue fuel hydrotreating unit and a 2.4 million tonne-per-year hydrocracking unit, which can produce higher quality fuels.

Sinopec said it plans to raise its crude throughput in the fourth quarter.

Sinopec spent RMB 930 million (USD 146 million) on environmental facilities, which would make the total investment around RMB 6.7 billion (USD 1.05 billion).

Sinopec plans to spend another RMB 440 million (USD 69 million) to make China National 5 grade diesel fuel, which is equivalent to Euro V by August 2016.

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