ORANJESTAD/HOUSTON Dec 29 A consortium formed
by France's Technip and Venezuela's Tecnoconsult and
Y&V Group was picked to refurbish Aruba's 225,000-barrel-per day
refinery, the Caribbean island's government said on Thursday.
The facility will be overhauled in a $700 million project
that is expected to take 18 months starting in early 2017. It
has been idle since 2012 when it was shut by the previous
operator, U.S. Valero Energy.
"The refinery's refurbish project will start in the short
term, including inspections, rehabilitation and preparation for
the restart," Aruba's economy minister, Richard Arends, said in
a speech broadcast on local television.
The Aruba refinery's new operator, Venezuelan-owned Citgo
Petroleum, plans to process up to 209,000 barrels per day (bpd)
of Venezuelan diluted crude for shipment to its U.S. Gulf
refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Lake Charles,
Citgo, a unit of Venezuela's state-run oil company Petróleos
de Venezuela S.A., or PDVSA, did not immediately respond to a
request for comment. Neither did Tecnoconsult, Y&V or Technip.
In November, Citgo's unit in Aruba shortlisted the Technip
consortium and another group formed by Japan's JGC Corp
and Spain's Pentech to do the revamp.
Earlier this year, the government of the Caribbean island
signed a 25-year lease with Citgo that would allow the new
subsidiary Citgo Aruba Refining (CAR) to operate the refinery
and an attached terminal.
Supplies to the Caribbean have been a key part of PDVSA's
exports for more than a decade, after numerous island nations
reached agreements with Venezuela for financed oil. However, its
cash flow problems and declining production have caused
disruptions, cutting crude shipments to the region.
The company is expecting the Aruba refinery to help curb its
diluent shortage, which has limited its ability to formulate
exportable crude blends.
Citgo in August asked its parent company to provide an
initial investment of $100 million, but a larger credit will be
needed to fund the project, according to a internal document
seen by Reuters in September.
A source from a bidding firm, who was not authorized to
speak to the media, said on condition of anonymity this week
that financial group Rothschild was acting as Citgo's
advisor for the credit.
(Reporting by Sailu Urribarri in Oranjestad, Marianna Parraga
in Houston and Alexandra Ulmer in Caracas; Editing by Richard