Petrobras executing hydrotreater upgrade at REDUC refinery

- Mar 15, 2021-

Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) is undertaking a project involving the revamp of an existing hydrotreater to improve the quality and quantity of low-sulfur diesel production at its 239,000-b/d Duque de Caxias (REDUC) refinery in the Baixada Fluminense area of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state.

Alongside reducing sulfur content of diesel to 10 ppm from 500 ppm to meet domestic and international market specifications, the hydrotreating unit upgrade also will nearly double Diesel S10 (10 ppm sulfur) production at the site to 9,500 cu m/day from its current 5,000 cu m/day output, the operator said.

Scheduled to be completed by second-half 2023 at a proposed investment of 140 million Brazilian real, the unit revamp comes as part of the company’s broader strategic objective of producing cleaner, higher-quality, more efficient fuels that have less impact on the environment, according to Petrobras.

In addition to reducing emissions of particulate matter, use of Diesel S10—which has a higher cetane number than Diesel S500 (500 ppm sulfur)—promotes improved fuel performance of vehicle engines in line with Brazil’s stricter air pollution control program for on-road heavy-duty and utility vehicles.

“We are preparing for the new refining market that will be formed in Brazil in the coming years, and this project is of great relevance for us to remain competitive [by] providing [high-quality products and] operating in a sustainable manner and in synergy with our [production] assets in deep and ultradeep waters,” said Alexandre Coelho, REDUC’s general manager.

Petrobras said it also plans to undertake similar unit upgrades in the coming years to expand Diesel S10 production at its 434,000-b/d Refinaria de Paulínia (REPLAN) refinery in Paulínia, São Paulo, and 252,000-b/d Refinaria Henrique Lage (REVAP) refinery in São José dos Campos, São Paulo. While the operator disclosed no further details regarding the REPLAN and REVAP project, the company did confirm implementation of these two projects would increase overall Diesel S10 production up to 16,500 cu m/day.