Cuba's Cienfuegos refinery on line; expansion mulled

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 2 -- Processing at Cuba's 65,000 b/d Cienfuegos refinery is on schedule 2 months into operations with gasoline output beginning in March and expansion plans on the drawing board, according to a senior official.

PDV-Cupet SA—a joint venture of Venezuela's state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA and CubaPetroleo—owns the refinery, which is in the port city of Cienfuegos, 155 miles southeast of Havana.

Julio Sanchez, director of refinery expansion, said the facility began processing crude Jan. 8, has reached its initial capacity, and was to begin producing gasoline Mar. 21.

He said the refinery is expected to produce 48% fuel oil, 18% diesel, 12% gasoline, 10% jet fuel, and 10% LNG for the domestic market and for export to other countries in the Caribbean region.

Further development plans call for the refinery eventually to process 150,000 b/d of crude and supply feedstock for a planned petrochemical industry in the area (OGJ Online, Feb. 3, 2008). Sanchez said the $1.3 billion expansion of the facility would get under way in 2009 and begin operation in 2013.

Cuba has two other refineries, Nico Lopez in Havana and Hermanos Diaz in Santiago de Cuba, 860 km east of the capital. The two facilities have a combined capacity of 65,000 b/d.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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