PDVSA Petróleo has selected a Foster Wheeler’s Global Engineering and Construction Group subsidiary for the engineering, procurement services and construction management (EPCm) contract for its refinery expansion project.

The EPCm contract for the El Palito refinery located close to Puerto Cabello, Carabobo state, Venezuela, will be carried out by Foster Wheeler in partnership with Toyo Engineering from Japan and Y & V Ingeniería y Construcción from Venezuela.

The expansion project is expected to double the refinery’s capacity to 280,000 barrels per stream day (bpsd), processing heavy and extra-heavy crudes from the Orinoco Belt, and increasing production of clean fuels.

PDVSA spokesperson said Foster Wheeler is a strong and capable FEED and EPCm contractor with significant experience in Venezuela and in executing major refinery expansion projects.

"They will play a key role in the project as part of this winning consortium, which consortium is very well-qualified to deliver this important upgrade project successfully and safely," spokesperson added.

The expansion project would include construction of new units such as a 140,000 bpsd crude/vacuum distillation unit, a 24,500 bpsd naphtha hydrotreating/continuous catalytic reformer complex, a 58,000 bpsd vacuum gasoil hydrotreater, and a 45,000 bpsd diesel hydrotreater.

The project would also construct an 80 million standard cubic feet per day hydrogen production unit, a 250 tons per day sulfur recovery/tail gas treatment unit, a new flare system, amine regeneration and sour water stripper facilities, and relevant utilities, interconnecting and off-sites, including marine facilities and a new product storage tank farm.

The project is expected to be completed during 2016.

Swiss company Foster Wheeler is an engineering and construction contractor and power equipment supplier.