Petron ramps up unit of $2-B refinery project

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Petron Corporation is on track to turn its Bataan refinery into one of the most advanced facilities in Asia as it ramped up a major unit of its $2-billion Refinery Master Plan 2

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(RMP-2) project, which will be fully operational in 2015.

RMP-2, composed of 19 refinery units, will allow the Petron Bataan Refinery (PBR) to run at its full capacity of 180,000 barrels per day, converting current negative margin fuel oil into higher value fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and liquified petroleum gas (LPG).

Petron told The Manila Times on Sunday that it has started operating the Vacuum Pipestill 2 (VPS-2), one of RMP-2’s major refinery units, on September 30 and is scheduled to ramp up other units in the next few weeks.

The fully funded RMP-2 will transform Petron’s refinery into one of the most advanced facilities in the region in terms of processing and energy efficiency, operational availability, and complexity, the company said.

VPS-2 has the capacity to convert up to 47,000 barrels-per-day of negative margin fuel oil to heavy vacuum gasoil (HVGO) and light vacuum gasoil (LVGO).

HVGO is fed to the new Petro Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit 2 (PetroFCC-2) where it is “cracked” to produce gasoline, jet fuel, and LPG.

LVGO, meanwhile, is sent directly to the Gasoil Hydrotreater (GOHT-4) to produce ultra low-sulfur diesel.

The heavy fuel oil bottoms from VPS-2 are fed to the Delayed Coker Unit (DCU), which produces petroleum coke (petcoke), a solid product similar to coal but with a higher heating value.

The petcoke will be used as fuel for the newly operational 140-megawatt Refinery Solid Fuel Fired Boiler (RSFFB) Cogen Plant that generates steam and power for the PBR.

“The start-up of this mega-project marks another milestone in Petron’s history. We are proud to have completed this project on time and on budget. The quick completion of this project is a testament to the professionalism and expertise of the Petron organization,” Petron President Lubin Nepomuceno said on Sunday.

He said that a project of this magnitude takes about 60 months or five years to complete, but the oil firm only needed 44 months to finish the project.

The construction phase alone was completed in just 21 months. At its peak, the project employed around 17,000 skilled workers, according to Nepomuceno.

He said the project was completed with a safety record of more than 75 million man-hours without lost time incident.

With the project’s completion, Petron’s gasoline production is projected to double from the current 18,000 barrels-per-day to 36,000 barrels-per-day.

Petron Chairman and Chief Executive Ramon Ang said that the project is a game-changer since it will have positive benefits not just for Petron but for the oil industry and the country as well.

“For Petron, this means increasing our revenues while improving profitability. This also gives us the ability to fuel the lives of more Filipinos with our increased capability to supply more world-class fuel products,” he added.

With increased production, Ang said Petron will enhance the country’s supply security and lessen its dependence on expensive imported fuel products.

“We will also be the only oil company capable of locally-producing more efficient and environment-friendly fuels that meet or exceed global standards,” Ang said.

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