The errors of the previous Government are numerous and costly. The repowering of the Esmeraldas Refinery, which exceeded 2,200 million dollars, is one of the star examples. Despite the investment, the project managed by the public company Petroecuador has had 15 partial and two total stoppages so far this year.
The suspensions add up, say the operations report of the public company, 247 days. In the majority of cases, they were failures derived from irregularities in the improvement works of the plant.
The Minister of Hydrocarbons, Carlos Pérez, knows that the bad planning and the hidden negotiations of the Government of the ex-president Rafael Correa passed bill in the refinery. Therefore, visit the Esmeraldas plant constantly. On Friday, December 15, it was his last trip to see the corrections that began in the middle of the year.
In conversation with newspaper EXPRESO, the minister said that the repair is daily. In their eyes, the traditional paras in the plant were “excessive”.
He explained that one of the important steps to reduce the number of suspensions is the interconnection of the refinery to the Esmeraldas II thermal power plant. The agreement, in operation since October, allows the refinery to not lose electricity if there are problems with the National Interconnected System (SIN). In 2017, five paras were due to the lack of electricity. One caused the total refinery stoppage for three days in June.
The other for total took place – for six days – in April.
What is the effect of the stoppages? The largest import of derivatives. Until October, it was necessary to import 41 million barrels. 6.6% more than in 2016.
Petroecuador clarifies that, in addition to the suspensions, the increase responds “to the greater requirement of gasoline from the fleet, as well as the maintenance of safety stocks”.
Perez said that the partial paras are helping to correct the evils but they are not enough. Therefore, as announced in October, the refinery will have a total shutdown in March 2018. It will be 30 or 45 days to repair the FCC unit of the work. It is the “heart of the infrastructure”.
It is also one of the systems that had the greatest investment during the Government of the self-styled citizen’s revolution. Excessive spending that has been linked to bribes and overpricing.
The Esmeraldas Refinery was not the only place with investments that did not give the expected results. The other two refineries that the country has (La Libertad and Shushufindi) had continuous stops in this year. Although they are smaller, their delivery of derivatives is also diminished.
La Libertad, for example, had six suspensions. One of the most serious happened on April 17 due to leaking gasoline vapor.
Shushufindi, on the other hand, had only one stoppage in the Crude Unit 2, between May 10 and 14, “for repairs and internal changes in the tower.” Lenin Moreno, on August 15, harshly criticized the bad decisions of the previous government.
He said that even the lives of the residents of the Esmeraldas refinery were put at risk. During a trip to the plant, together with officials from strategic sectors, he said that the Correa administration operated with “enormous irresponsibility.”
It is located in Esmeraldas, seven kilometers from the city of Esmeraldas via Atacames. It was built between 1975 and 1977. Its operations started in May 1977.
It is the result of the delivery to the country of the infrastructure of the Anglo Ecuadorian Oilfields Refinery Ltda. In 1989.
Built in Sucumbíos. He started minor operations in 1987. (I)