de Venezuela
de Venezuela


Deep Conversion Project boosts Hydrocarbons Economic Driver


Beatriz Hernández and Luisa López

This is the first commercial use of the pride of PDVSA-INTEVEP, HDHPLUSR® / SHP technology for the processing of crude oil from the Hugo Chávez Orinoco Oil Belt

Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. strengthens the Hydrocarbons Economic Driver (a government economic policy to boost the oil sector) with the expansion of Puerto La Cruz Refinery in Anzoátegui state. The pride of PDVSA INTEVEP, HDHPLUSR® / SHP technology for the processing of heavy crude oil from the Hugo Chávez Orinoco Oil Belt (FPO) will be used commercially for the first time.

With an investment of 8.8 billion dollars, 25 new units will start up in 2018 to change the refining pattern -stop processing light oil and incorporate heavy crude into the refinery's diet.

For this big project, the Chinese company WISON was directly responsible for the preparation of the 220 hectares site, executing a large earthwork of more than 3.5 million cubic meters corresponding to the handled volume of cutting, filling, and compacting in the areas of Manzanillo, Macotal, Bellorín and El Chaure. This has been the largest earthwork ever executed in the Americas.

Consorcio Venezuela Número Uno (VONE) composed of HYUNDAI ENGINEERING & CONSTRUCTION (HYUNDAI E&C), HYUNDAI ENGINEERING in partnership with WISON ENGINEERING and PDVSA, as well as the CONFEED Consortium, composed of the Japanese companies CHIYODA and JGC, and the Venezuelan engineering company INELECTRA are currently engaged in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (IPC), which has 44% overall progress.

Yánez and Vergara, (Y & V) another Venezuelan engineering company, along with Japan's Toyo Engineering Corporation, support PDVSA with the overall supervision of the project. Temporary facilities have been built -offices and storage sheds- as well as a loading dock suited for extra heavy loads for the offloading of major equipment built in other countries, key for the operation of the new plants.

Early Victories

The first early victory is the New Nitrogen Plant, which will soon be in operation. The plant, with German technology, will guarantee the supply of 57,250 standard cubic meters of inert gas per hour required by Puerto La Cruz Refinery and the new process plants.

With the start of operation of this unit called 94, Puerto La Cruz Refinery will save 42 million bolivars monthly, thanks to savings in nitrogen imports. In a second stage, additional revenues of 75 million bolivars per month will be generated with the sale of liquid nitrogen. All the requirements of the Deep Conversion Project's new plants will be met by 2018.

Also, with an investment of 117 million bolivars, a modern platform of 75 meters was built for a new extra heavy cargo pier in Bolivariana de Puertos, in the Guanta municipality of Anzoátegui state; 397 vessels have docked coming from South Korea, China, Japan, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States with equipment that exceeds 100,000 tons.

With an investment of 792 million bolivars, VONE Consortium reinforced 3.7 kilometers of Guanta municipality's José Antonio Anzoátegui and Igor Rodríguez Avenues, easing traffic on the inter-state highway linking Anzoátegui with the neighboring state of Sucre and future transportation of extra heavy equipment for the Deep Conversion Project.

Major equipment already built for HDHPLUSR® / SHP technology, includes eight SHP reactors manufactured by Japanese companies KOBE STEEL and THE JAPAN STEEL WORK, four HDHPLUSR® reactors and two separators manufactured in Italy by ATB RIVA CALZONI, as well as eight high-pressure heat exchangers for the SHP and HDH units, manufactured by BREMBANA COSTRUZIONI INDUSTRIALI.

Project progress

For construction works the most progress, currently at 31%, has been reported by the new Vacuum Distillation Plant, which will have a capacity of 131,240 barrels per day of atmospheric residue (AR) to produce vacuum residue, light vacuum gas oil (LVGO), heavy vacuum gas oil (HVGO) and asphalt.

Plant construction is carried out on two hectares of land in the hydroelectric area of ​​the Puerto La Cruz Refinery. They will have two processing trains –currently in completion phase- which required the lifting of its two vacuum towers. This task is the most important construction milestone to date for heavy equipment installation, as these 266-ton towers were moved and placed on their concrete bases on different dates, December 9, 2015 and April 20, 2016. This precision maneuver was performed in just over two hours each tower. The largest construction area is Macotal, which has 25% progress in the construction of Auxiliary and Industrial Units. The auxiliary units are: Hydrogen Production (83), Hydrogen Recovery (87) and Hydrogen Compression (78), Sour Water Stripping (84), Amine Recovery (85), Sulfur Recovery and Tail Gas Treatment (86). And the industrial units are Unit 52, which belongs to the Electrical Substation, and the Water Cooling System (91B).

We will also expand unit 98, the Tank Yard of the eastern refining center, 16.26% executed so far, with the construction of 16 new storage tanks: seven diesel storage tanks in the El Chaure area, five waste storage tanks south east of the refinery, two new spheres for liquefied petroleum gas, and two other tanks for naphtha and gasoline. 35 pre-existing tanks will be conditioned for the new low sulfur content refinery streams, with a storage capacity of 4,384,000 barrels, or 67% of the eastern refining center’s installed capacity.

Undoubtedly, the Deep Conversion Project of Puerto La Cruz Refinery will write a new history in heavy and extra heavy crude oil refining worldwide, as maximum conversion HDHPLUR® technology will outperform its competitors and will help position Venezuela as a leading energy power. HDHPLUSR® will provide us with greater technological independence in the area of hydrocarbons and its commercial launch will also allow us to place "white gasolines" and other high-value products that are much more environmentally friendly. This is an unprecedented effort in the domestic refining business that will increase foreign currency revenues starting in 2018.

Drinking water for everyone

PDVSA, with the technical support of Hidrológica del Caribe, is currently developing the Drinking Water Supply Increase Project, from 3,000 to 6,000 liters per second (L/S), which will benefit the population of the metropolitan areas of Anzoátegui state, which includes Bolívar, Sotillo, Urbaneja and Guanta municipalities. Puerto La Cruz Refinery will only require 600 L/S from this water flow, which will leave 5,400 L/S to be incorporated into the Hidrocaribe supply system.


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