Refinery upgrades will mean cleaner diesel fuel, less urban pollution

Mar 2, 2018 | 13 comments

Ecuador is cleaning up its diesel fuel.

According to Ecuador Minister of Hydrocarbons, Carlos Pérez, when upgrades to the Esmeraldas refinery are completed in July, the diesel produced at the facility will have a particulate count of 50 to 60 pollutants per million, down from the current 120, and 350 two years ago.

The Esmeraldas oil refinery processes about 40% of Ecuadorian crude.

“We will be in the range that is generally considered acceptable internationally for diesel fuel,” says Pérez. “For years, we lacked the technology and the resources to convert to cleaner levels of fuel at the Esmeraldas plant.”

Pérez added that the major beneficiaries of the upgrades will be the country’s major cities. “The change will reduce pollution generated by buses in trucks in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca and other cities that have been affected by diesel pollution. Diesel fumes are the main source of pollution in our cities.”

The upgrades of catalytic filtering systems at the refinery will be made during two scheduled shut-downs of the plant, the first in March for 15 days and the second in May that will last 54 days.

Pérez says that another upgrade is planned for 2022 to bring to the particulate count close to the European standard of five, the strictest in the world.

Pérez said that extra supplies of fuel are being stored to meet domestic demand during the refinery shut-downs.

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