The 18 licenses that the previous Government purchased for the Pacific Refinery run the risk of not being used. These tools allow the use of the technology developed by other companies to build and operate the different units of this complex.
The previous Government allocated some USD 600 million to the purchase of these permits and there is no certainty that the new investors of the project will use these inputs. The licenses were acquired from Axens, Foster Wheeler, Linde and UOP. The purchase of these instruments was made without having secured the financing for this work. Carlos Pérez, Minister of Hydrocarbons, analyzes the mechanisms to, as far as possible, ensure that those who sold the licenses for the Refinery authorize the transfer of these tools to the future contractor of this project.
These permits “are usually generated with names and surnames, they are not transferable,” Minister Perez emphasized. Without an agreement, these tools cannot be used and the investment is lost, the official acknowledged. These types of permits cannot be sold in the market either. In total, this plant will have 23 units where crude oil is processed (in different states) to produce gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, diesel and other fuels.
Fernando Santos Alvite, former Minister of Energy, said that in the issue of licenses should also be analyzed if they work to refine Ecuadorian heavy oil and not the light oil that was to be brought from Venezuela.
The initial project proposed using oil from that country of 23 degrees API, but the current regime states that the design will be modified to process the ITT block crude, which is heavier, of 13 and 18 degrees. The modification will imply changes in the processes because the heavy oil demands another type of treatment.
In addition to fuel, urea will be obtained from the new project. The previous government foresaw that it would also produce polypropylene (synthetic fiber), but this will remain for a second stage, Pérez said.
Ecuador invested in the Refinery around USD 1 500 million, including licenses, land clearance and the construction of the La Esperanza aqueduct. But the works did not continue because of the lack of financing. The current government decided to condition, in August of 2017, the continuity of this refining plant in search of interested private investors. This task was in charge of the heads of the ministers of Hydrocarbons, Carlos Pérez; and Foreign Trade, Pablo Campana.
After these efforts, today and tomorrow representatives of 28 foreign companies that expressed their interest in building the Pacific Refinery, in Manabí, will know details of this industrial plant.
The managers will make a tour of the area of El Aromo, where the land of the complex is located. The executives represent companies from the US, South Korea, Russia, China and other countries interested in building the Refinery in Manabí. According to Campana, among the interested companies are Repsol, CNPC, Hyundai and Mitsubishi.
He also said that the US bank Goldman Sachs offers financing. In the visit of investors, the Government will also present the project to convert the storage system of liquefied petroleum gas from Monteverde into an international center for the collection and distribution of fuels. The infrastructure, located in Santa Elena, demanded USD 606 million, but only 12.5% of its total capacity is used. Asked about why the previous government made an oversized work in Monteverde, Minister Pérez said that the former manager of the Flopec Company, Danilo Moreno, mentioned that in the construction of this work the instructions were followed, then, “by the Presidency of the Republic”. (I)