Pemex advances low-sulfur fuels project at Minatitlan refinery

The first phase of an ultralow-sulfur fuels project is proceeding as planned and without delay at Petroleos Mexicanos’ (Pemex) 185,000-b/d Lazaro Cardenas refinery near Minatitlan, Veracruz state.

The first phase of an ultralow-sulfur fuels project is proceeding as planned and without delay at Petroleos Mexicanos’ (Pemex) 185,000-b/d Lazaro Cardenas refinery near Minatitlan, Veracruz state.

The company plans to start up a first phase of 24,000 b/d in Ultralow-sulfur gasoline production from the Minatitlan refinery in April as part of Mexico’s nationwide plan to improve overall fuel quality in the country, Pemex said.

Start-up of this first phase of low-sulfur gasoline production follows a 14 month-long construction and installation of a catalytic hydrodesulfurization (HDS) plant at Minatitlan, which will enable the refinery to produce gasoline with a sulfur content of 30 ppm, the company said.

Pemex also continues to advance a second phase of Minatitlan’s fuel-quality improvement program, which involves the construction of a 30,000-b/d diesel HDS plant for the production of diesel with a sulfur content of 10 ppm, as well as the revamp of an existing 25,000-b/d HDS unit to expand its ultralow-sulfur diesel (ULSD) production to 50,000 b/d (OGJ Online, Sept. 15, 2014).

This diesel phase of the program, however, could proceed at a slower pace than initially envisioned as a result of recent budgetary cuts alongside sharply lower crude oil prices, the company said (OGJ Online, Feb. 18, 2015).

Pending necessary adjustments, detailed engineering on the diesel phase of the project, which began late in 2014, is scheduled to be completed by September 2016, with construction and start-up due to be completed by December 2017, Pemex said.

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