Argentina YPF to begin building coke plant at La Plata refinery

22 July 2013 22:56  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales (YPF) expects to break ground on a new $800m (€604m) coke plant at La Plata refinery in Buenos Aires province following the arrival of heavy equipment into the country, Argentina’s state-run oil company said on Monday.

Three 420-tonne chambers arrived on Sunday at the Argentinian port of Berisso, along with a 160-tonne fractionation tower, YPF said. The equipment could be transferred to La Plata as early as next weekend, it added.

The new plant, which is expected to come on line at the start of 2016, will increase production of gasoline and diesel by 600m litres/year, the company said.

La Plata, the country’s largest refinery, is one of three that YPF operates in Argentina. The company also operates the recently upgraded Lujan de Cuyo refinery in Mendoza province and the Plaza Huincul refinery in Neuquen province.

La Plata’s crude processing capacity was reduced from 188,000 bbls/day in April after a fire destroyed a coke furnace at the refinery. A distillation unit, which was also damaged in the fire, was restarted in May, increasing capacity to current levels of about 155,000 bbl/day.

Disruption to the refinery’s operations as a result of the fire would reduce output in 2013 by about 1.4m cubic metres, the company said in May, forcing it to import yet more refined products to meet domestic demand.

According to Argentina’s statistics institute Indec, fuel and lubricant imports in May increased by 5% year on year to $1.40bn, while accumulated imports in the first five months of 2013 jumped 29% to $4.56bn.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Simon West

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