The Abreu e Lima Refinery is located in Ipojuca, Brazil. (Credit: Divulgação/Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC)/ Flickr)
The refinery contains two sets of refining units. (Credit: Petrobras News Agency)
The refinery has a refining capacity of 230,000 barrels per day. (Credit: Divulgação/Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC)/ Flickr)

The Abreu e Lima Refinery (RNEST) is an operational refining facility located in the state of Pernambuco in Brazil.

The project is owned by state-owned Brazilian multinational corporation Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Perobras Brasil).

RNEST is Perobras Brasil’s fifth largest unit with a refining capacity of 230,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).

Additionally, RNEST has the highest crude oil conversion rate in diesel (70%) among all Brazilian refineries.

The Abreu e Lima Refinery is equipped with advanced refining technologies and uses the highest level of automation among the company’s refineries to ensure reliability, minimise maintenance cost, reduce power consumption and optimise water usage and operational security standards.

RNEST began production in December 2014. It primarily produces diesel and supplies oil products to Northern and North-eastern Brazil.

Perobras is working on an expansion and modernisation of the refinery’s operating units. The expansion is due to complete in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Location details

The Abreu e Lima Refinery is located in the Suape Port Industrial Complex in Pernambuco. The site is around 45km away from Recife.

Abreu e Lima Refinery components

The Abreu e Lima Refinery consists of two refining trains- Train 1 and Train 2.

The RNEST refinery has two Atmospheric Distillation Units (ADU), two Delayed Coking Units (DCU), and two Diesel Hydrotreatment Units (DHT-D).

The refinery also houses two Naphtha Hydrotreatment Units (NHT-D), two Hydrogen Generation Units (HGU), and two Emissions Abatement Units (SNOX) along with auxiliary units and logistics facilities.

Abreu e Lima Refinery products

RNEST is equipped with two sets of independent refining units to ensure flexibility in using different types of oil.

The refinery has been designed to produce low-sulphur S-10 Diesel, which reduces particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80% and 98% respectively.

Besides S-10 Diesel, the production output includes naphtha, fuel oil, coke, and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Refinery expansion

Petrobras is working to expand and modernise units already in operation at RNEST.

The expansion will increase the total processing capacity of Train 1 from 115,000 barrels of oil per day to 130,000 barrels of oil per day.

The move is part of Petrobras 2023-2027 Strategic Plan.

The programme will involve works at atmospheric distillation, delayed coking, and auxiliary units.

Once complete, the modernisation of these units will enable the company to increase the supply of diesel for the Brazilian market as of 2025.

Contractors involved

The Abreu e Lima Refinery was built in partnership between Petrobras with Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

In December 2009, Petrobras awarded five contracts with a combined value of BRL8.9bn (~$4.1bn) for the construction of the Refinery. The contracts are:

Camargo Corrêa – CNEC consortium was awarded the contract of constructing Delayed Coker Units (U-21 and U-22), including substations and Caustic Regeneration Sections (U-26 and U-27).

CONEST-UHDT won the contract for implementation of the Diesel (U-31 and U-32), Naphtha (U-33 and U-34) Hydrotreatment Units, and Hydrogen Generation Units (U-35 and U-36).

The deployment of the Atmospheric Distillation Units (U-11 and U-12) was completed by RNEST – CONEST, while Conduto – Egesa was responsible for the deployment of refinery product receipt and shipment pipelines.

Construcap – Progen consortium provided civil infrastructure services.

FERBECK International was awarded an Engineering Production and Construction (EPC) contract for two 82m high concrete chimneys for the Abreu e Lima refinery.

The scope of work includes concrete shell, outer shell coat, steel platforms, walkways, access lift and ladders, other steel elements, lightning protection system, and electric system.

Construction service company Santos CMI performed consistency analysis of basic engineering and development of detailed engineering, monitoring services, accompaniment of shipping and materials transport, for the implementation of the project.

The technical support for the refinery was provided by engineering consultant Núcleo Engenharia between 2011 and 2016.