At the beginning of August, 2009 the state mineral oil enterprise Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP) celebrated the inauguration of its delayed coker, mechanically completed in March, at the Aconcagua Refinery in Concón, in the Chilean province of Valparaiso.
With the help of the new plant, the Aconcagua refinery now processes 16,500 cubic metres of crude oil daily. This means that it now provides 100 percent of the supply to Valparaiso Province, 67 percent to the Metropolitana region and 40 percent of the supply to the whole country. ENAP anticipates an additional profit of 800 million US dollars from the delayed coker over the coming 20 years.
The contracts between ENAP and Ferrostaal in consortium with the Spanish partner company for the turnkey delivery of the delayed coker were signed and put into effect in July 2005. Less than three years later, the plant was completed on time. The performance test for acceptance was conducted successfully in July this year.
The refinery is in Concón, 200 kilometres northwest of Santiago de Chile and processes 20,000 bpd.
The refinery previously had to import lighter crudes from South Africa and Asia. With the delayed coker, heavier crudes from Latin American countries like Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador can be bought and processed. This saves money, not just through lower transport costs, but also lower procurement costs.
But the new coker also brings other benefits. By-products like refinery gas or kerosene can also be sold, answering Chile’s growing demand for fuels. And it is now possible to produce higher quality fuels with lower proportions of pollutants.