Trafigura lets contract for Bahía Blanca refinery

Sept. 12, 2023
Trafigura Argentina SA has let a contract to Elessent Clean Technologies to deliver technology licensing and engineering services for a new processing unit to be installed at subsidiary Refinería Bahía Blanca SAU’s Ricardo Eliçabe refinery in Argentina.

Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd.’s Trafigura Argentina SA has let a contract to Elessent Clean Technologies Inc. to deliver technology licensing and engineering services for a new processing unit to be installed at subsidiary Refinería Bahía Blanca SAU’s 27,000-b/d Ricardo Eliçabe refinery at Bahía Blanca, in Argentina’s province of Buenos Aires.

As part of the September contract awards, Elessent will license its proprietary IsoTherming technology and provide engineering for a grassroots 18,870-b/d diesel hydrotreating that will increase the refinery’s capacity to produce and supply the domestic market with ultralow-sulfur diesel (ULSD) complying with upcoming regulations requiring a ULSD maximum sulfur content of 10 ppm, the service provider said.

Alongside helping Trafigura ease foreign diesel imports by enabling increased production of ULSD from domestically sourced crude from the Vaca Muerta formation in nearby Neuquén basin, the planned IsoTherming diesel hydrotreater also will allow the Bahía Blanca refinery to reduce energy consumption, as well as decrease its carbon dioxide emissions by about 50% compared to traditional hydrotreating technology, Elessent said.

In addition, Elessent confirmed the proposed IsoTherming hydrotreater will be designed to optionally co-process a renewable feedstock of vegetable oil for production of ULSD, supporting Trafigura’s commitment to the global effort of transitioning to cleaner fuel sources.

While Trafigura has disclosed little to no information publicly about operations at the Bahía Blanca refinery since acquiring it from Pampa Energía SA in May 2018, Elessent said the operator is targeting startup of the new IsoTherming hydrotreater sometime in 2025-26.