LARTC Advisory Board Meeting: Decreasing the region’s dependence on imports
LARTC Advisory Board Meeting
It is clear that the Latin American downstream industry has huge potential, but the region is currently facing an array of challenges, both technical and strategic. With the heavy and sour available feedstock and some underused refining capacity, the region remains a net importer of refined products and petrochemicals. Nonetheless, the number of countries investing in their downstream sectors is on the rise and opportunities for industry players to work on new refining and petrochemical projects are plentiful.
The Latin American Refining Technology Conference (LARTC) with the support from our host partner YPF will provide updates from the region’s key stakeholders on new refining and petrochemical projects and address key challenges in realising the full potential of Latin America’s downstream industry including: responding to new regulations and product specifications, feedstock availability, attracting investment and managing project financing, improving energy efficiency, petrochemical market dynamics and trading hubs.
To ensure the event brings real value to the region’s refining and petrochemical industry and acts as a platform to support the key players and stakeholders, the World Refining Association hosted the LARTC Advisory Board Meeting in Buenos Aires on the 14th of February 2017.
The insights shared by the all the Advisory Board members were invaluable and fundamental for the development of the programme and we are thankful for their commitment and input.
Key Takeaway 1: Strategies must be put in place to decrease the region’s dependence on imports
One of the main industry challenges discussed at the meeting was the regional refineries’ struggle to efficiently process the heavy and sour crude readily available across the region. Latin America is a net exporter of crude, and yet some of its refineries are not operating at full capacity. The downstream sector lacks the technical-operational capacity to efficiently refine this crude into compliant products, especially with the stricter specifications and low sulphur products today’s market requires.
This challenge of securing optimal feedstock and the demand mix challenge have a knock-on effect, leaving a large number of the region’s refineries operating below their maximum capacity. There’s a real lack of refining and conversion capacity across the region, and projects are continuously being cancelled or delayed. We can see this currently with the Brazilian industry, one of the biggest markets in the region, which is currently at a complete stand-still. Clear visions and plans need to be discussed by regional governments and NOCs so as to highlight how each country plans on tackling this issue so as to assure the competitiveness of their downstream sectors and to decrease the dependence on imports.