Posted On 21 Aug 2017
The Esmeraldas State Refinery celebrates four decades of operations this year. It emerged during the ‘oil boom’ Ecuador experienced between 1972 and 1982; In its beginnings, it processed 55,000 barrels per day. Now, although its capacity reaches 110,000 barrels, its technical condition causes concern.
Two days after the visit of President Lenin Moreno to the facilities, the Ministry of Hydrocarbons opened the doors of the refinery so that the media could directly verify the magnitude of the damage.
Seeing the exteriors of the affected units, it would seem that there are no major problems. However, when entering, oxidized, broken and burnt equipment and pipes can be seen. Contaminated liquid spreads on the ground, red dots with temperatures that exceed permitted levels, broken tanks make up the doomsday scenario.
Before the official inspection, about ten technicians exposed the state of the largest industrial complex in the country. The conclusions reached were overwhelming. $ 2.2 billion was invested in the rehabilitation works made between 2008 and 2015. Experts say that the work was not integral; not all the equipment was repaired or replaced, some even exceeded the 30 years of use.
On the other hand, since irregularities related to the “rehabilitation works” were discovered, several contracts in execution were stopped as part of the investigation processes carried out by the control bodies. (I)