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RE: PDVSA spends $2.3 B modernize refineries 2010 – perhaps better spent fire/safety equip or maint

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Charles Randall

PdV says it spent $2.3bn on refineries in 2010
Caracas, 31 January 2011 (Argus) Venezuelan state-owned oil company PdV made more than $2.3bn of capital expenditures (capex) at its refineries during 2010, refining director Jess Luongo said today.
The company last year spent $931mn on scheduled maintenance and $1.3bn on expansion projects, Luongo said. PdV’s refinery capex was 31.5pc higher than its $1.69bn of refining capex in 2009, he said.  The modernization of PdV’s refining circuit is being fulfilled at the El Palito and Puerto La Cruz [refineries], which by 2014 will be capable of processing heavier crudes with an average 22 API, compared with 28 API today, he said.
But Luongo did not mention a succession of major accidents last year at PdV’s main refineries, including the 140,000 b/d El Palito, 200,000 b/d Puerto La Cruz, 300,000 b/d Cardon and 640,000 b/d Amuay facilities.
The El Palito refinery reported two explosions and fires that caused structural damage to some units, and the union complained in December that firefighting equipment and materials are deficient.
The Puerto La Cruz refinery last year suffered at least four accidents, including an explosion. And the Cardon and Amuay refineries, which form what PdV calls the Paraguana Refining Complex, suffered at least seven major accidents in 2010.
Last March, PdV shut down the 340,000 b/d-capacity Isla refinery on Curacao after a fire caused a power outage. Isla refinery was off line until December 2010 and currently operates at about 70pc of capacity because of continuing problems with some of the processing units, PdV officials said. 

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