Venezuela advances desalination plant for Paraguana refineries

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) plans to commission by yearend the first module of a seawater desalination plant designed to supply water requirements for its Paraguana refining complex in northwest Venezuela, the state-owned company said.

Construction of the desalination plant is about 85% complete, and an initial phase of the project with a daily capacity of 200 l./sec (4.6 million gpd) is scheduled for start-up in late October, according to Luis Barberii, PDVSA’s manager of major projects.

Desalinated water supplies from this first module will be used for steam generation at the 310,000-b/d Cardon refinery, Barberii said.

The company expects the desalination plant’s three remaining modules to be commissioned by the end of first-quarter 2015, at which time the plant will reach its full daily capacity of 800 l./sec (18.3 million gpd), the company said.

The plant—which will use reverse osmosis technology to convert seawater to fresh—meets a fifth objective of Venezuela’s 2013-19 National Plan stipulating that government agencies must contribute to environmental preservation efforts.

In addition to the Cardon refinery, the Paraguana refining complex also includes the 645,000-b/d Amuay refinery, which leaves the complex with an overall crude oil processing capacity of 955,000-b/d, according to PDVSA’s most recent annual report, released late in June.

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