Colombia appoints consultant for refinery project

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 30 -- Foster Wheeler AG said Refineria de Cartagena SA (Reficar) has accepted the offer by a joint venture of Foster Wheeler USA Corp. and Process Consultants Inc. to serve as consultant for the expansion of the Cartagena refinery.

The project, which will expand the refinery's capacity to 165,000 b/d from 80,000 b/d, will also improve the fuel quality to meet Colombian and international environmental specifications.

In addition to doubling its refining capacity, Reficar’s expanded facility will also have the flexibility to process heavy crude, including crude from the Rubiales and Piriri fields in the Eastern Plains region of Colombia.

The goal is to complete the expansion project in the next 2 years with operations expected to start during first half 2013.

Overall investment for the upgrade project is more than $3 billion. Foster Wheeler did not disclose its award value but said it will be included in the company's fourth-quarter 2009 bookings.

In November, Reficar’s board confirmed its existing $1.4 billion agreement with Chicago, Bridge & Iron (CB&I) for the performance of detailed engineering, procurement and construction services in connection with the expansion of the Cartagena refinery.

CB&I has worked on the refinery expansion project since 2008, providing basic engineering design, topsoil stripping, and conditioning services in 130 hectares of the area where the new refining and power generation units will be located.

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