One Chilean refinery due back online next week

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Mar. 2 -- Chile’s state-owned oil company Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (Enap) said its 97,650-b/d Aconcagua refinery will be online next week but that no date could be given for the restart of its 113,000-b/d Bio Bio facility.

Both refineries stopped operating due to damage and electrical problems following an 8.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked the central southern part of Chile on Feb. 27.

The initial quake was followed by a 6.2-magnitude aftershock that struck central Chile, according to the US Geological Survey, which located the epicenter 35 km underground and 109 km northeast of the city of Talca.

Meanwhile, despite earlier assurances about availability of domestic stocks, Enap said it will import 65,000 cu m of diesel to secure the local fuel supply.

That follows an earlier statement by Enap that it had enough gasoline for at least two weeks and enough diesel for 10 days, a stance underscored by Energy minister Marcelo Tokman who said there was no cause for concern.

“In terms of oil and gas, the stock is there,” Tokman said. “The situation is fine. The problem is distribution and coordination. But in terms of the amount of fuel, we do not see any problem.”

However, company officials also left open the option of importing further supplies if needed.

The Aconcagua refinery is the main source of products for the Santiago market, while the Bio Bio facility supplies 40% of products used by the domestic market including fuel oil, LPG, gasoline and diesel oil.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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