Benefits from regional and overseas expertise
LARTC Advisory Board Meeting
Here are the following key takeaways from the LARTC (Latin America Refining Technology Conference) Advisory Board Meeting that took place in February in Buenos Aires. The industry experts present at the meeting and sharing their insights include:
- Mauricio Martin, Planning and Technical Downstream Director, YPF
- Arturo Bettati, Managing Director Latin America, Haldor Topsoe America Latina S.A
- Mariano Bertaina, Refining Technical Executive Manager, Axion
- Ana Patroni, General Manager for Products, Processes and Analytics, YPF Tecnología S.A.
Key Takeaway 3: Refiners and petrochemical producers will benefit from regional and overseas expertise
There is a clear interest in learning more about the challenges, experience and expertise of refineries overseas. Europe is home to some of the best refineries in the world, with strong operational systems. The US usually leads the show with the most innovative technology developments. Africa and Latin America’s petroleum industries present many similarities, as net exporters of crude and importers of refined products, but both regions need to seriously reconsider their refining strategies, and this relies to some extent on a change in way of thinking. In many cases there’s a lack of focus on performance and energy efficiency culture and this will need to change for the refining segment to compete with other regions.
Not only will refiners benefit from overseas expertise, but lessons learnt from other industry players, refiners and petrochemical producers across the Latin American region are also of great value, as many of the challenges they need to overcome have already been dealt with by other players. By sharing experiences, the industry can pool together the necessary tools, knowledge and systemic thinking to ensure the competitiveness and secure the future of the region’s downstream industry.
Incentives must be put in place to develop new innovative technological solutions
The Latin American downstream industry is in need of new technologies. While the new technologies are readily available in the market, because of the lack of recent activity in many countries, with many projects being held at a standstill, and with the lack of investment, Latin American refineries find themselves lagging behind. Many complexes across the region are operating with outdated technology, incapable of handling the combination of poorer feedstock and higher product specifications. The advisors discussed what technological solutions are needed to support efficiency and to meet these new product specifications. Today’s challenges, including the increasing need to optimise feedstock supply and mitigate the impact of diminishing feedstock quality, call for increased levels of production flexibility within plants, so as to maximise their utilisation and adjust to ever-changing market demand.
New product specifications, notably the recent changes in sulphur specifications for marine bunker fuels, will require unit upgrades across the refineries and probably investing in hydro processing upgrades would be essential. Other technologies, including catalysts, FCC, hydro-treatment, and delayed cokers, will also need to be looked at. These continuous changes in regulations are challenging for the region’s industry development and investing in new technology or technology upgrades to efficiently meet the criteria will be essential to its survival.
Read the first key takeaway here.
Read the second key takeaway here.