Llanopetrol Targets 260,000 b/d Heavy Oil Refinery

Empresa de Petroleos del Llano-Llanopetrol’s planned refinery in Colombia would be capable of processing 260,000 barrels of heavy crude a day, according to the company’s general manager, potentially reducing gasoline and diesel imports as it becomes the country’s largest facility.

Llanopetrol, which earlier this month secured an environmental license to build the refinery in Colombia’s central Meta province, is now close to signing a deal with a U.S. company to help finance the project, Ricardo Rodriguez said. The initial price tag is $1.5 billion.

“Right now Colombia is exporting its heavy crude,” Rodriguez said yesterday in an interview in Bogota. “We’re going to be part of a very small group of heavy oil refiners in the world.”

State-controlled oil producer Ecopetrol SA (ECOPETL) is in the midst of upgrading its refineries in the country. It is modernizing its Cartagena refinery, boosting capacity to 165,000 barrels a day from 80,000, and increasing the percentage of heavy crude in the feedstock to 61 percent from zero, the company said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Plans to modernize its refinery at Barrancabermeja, Colombia, will almost double the share of heavy crude in the feedstock to 70 percent from 38 percent, Ecopetrol said. Capacity will remain unchanged at 250,000 barrels a day.

Domestic Treatments

Llanopetrol, majority-owned by the Meta province, is targeting an initial capacity of 40,000 barrels a day when refining starts at the end of 2015. The company plans to expand operations to 260,000 barrels by 2025, Rodriguez said. That would make it Colombia’s largest refinery if Ecopetrol’s refineries at Cartagena and Barrancabermeja don’t expand further.

The future partner in the project may also be the refinery’s operator, with plans to make petrochemicals and lubricants on site, he said. Meta is Colombia’s top oil-producing province.

“A country that exports all its resources without transforming them won’t develop,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going build a refinery to treat our own heavy crude.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Willis in Bogota at awillis21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net Robin Saponar, Steven Frank

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