The Energy Research Company  sees space for five new refineries


The Energy Research Company (EPE) presented a study showing the feasibility of implementing five small refineries in the country, that is, units with processing capacity between 5,000 b / d 20 thousand b / d.

According to the survey, the region indicated for the installation of the plants would be the Northeast, which, even though it currently has five refineries, presents the largest deficit in the supply of derivatives. In addition, the region has potential for significant economic growth and great concentration of onshore fields.

The president of the EPE, Thiago Barral, believes that this type of enterprise can boost new business and develop localities with potential not yet explored.

“The study shows that these small refineries could represent a new way to market oil in onshore fields,” he added, noting that another benefit is to increase the number of oil product suppliers in a market dominated by Petrobras, which holds 98% capacity of national refining.

The five mini refineries could be installed in the Potiguar (20,000 b / d), Recôncavo (20,000 b / d), Sergipe (10 thousand b / d), Espírito Santo-Mucuri (10 thousand b / d) and Alagoas (5 thousand b / d). The EPE used as base of supply for the units the petroleum produced in terrestrial fields near the plants.

The refineries in Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe would be built in the “hydroskimming” format, of low complexity, with an atmospheric separation unit and no cracking unit. The Bahia, Espírito Santo and Alagoas units would be designed according to the cracking model, which produces larger volumes of derivatives, with higher market values.

Brazil will continue to import derivatives, mainly naphtha, diesel, gasoline and LPG, but improving supplies in places with a low supply of fuel represents an opportunity, according to EPE.

“The exploration and production of oil and gas on land is important for local development, generates employment, income and, above all, creates a decentralized supply of derivatives”, emphasized José Mauro Coelho, director of studies of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels of EPE .

The implementation of small refining units for regional service is also important due to the high logistics costs associated with certain localities, given the continental dimensions of Brazil.

In order to define the best locations for refinery installation, the study used as a criterion the possibility of supplying consolidated or niche markets, where there are few competitors, as well as the attendance to domestic demands. In addition, the research uses a scenario in which there is the possibility of integration with the supply chain by other partners and access to exemptions or tax incentives.

The analysis estimates, for the feasibility of the projects, a 25-year useful life for the projects, with depreciation of 4% pa. (per year) and minimum attractiveness rate of 10%. It also takes into account the commercialization of 100% of the products of the refinery with parity in the international market, 90% utilization capacity and three years of plant construction.

According to EPE data, in 2017 approximately one third of the national energy demand was composed of diesel (19.1%), gasoline (10%) and LPG (3.4%), the transportation sector being the largest consumer , with 65% – of which 92% demanded by the transport segment.

As the national transportation matrix is ​​mostly absorbed by the fuels of trucks, cars and buses, the need for derivatives to meet this profile tends to grow in the coming years.

Projects under study

In October last year, BE Petróleo published a report detailing private-sector projects that envisage the installation of five new refineries in the country in the next decade, four of them in the Northeast and one in Amapá.

Source: BE Petroleo

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