The ENAP Aconcagua refinery located in Concon, Chile has been operational since November 1955. EnapRefinerías, a subsidiary of Chile state-owned Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP), is the owner and operator of refinery.

Previously known as the Concon refinery, the Aconcagua refinery has a processing capacity of approximately 104,000 barrels of crude oil a day (bopd).

Location and site details

The Aconcagua refinery is located in Concon, in the Valparaiso Region in central Chile. It lies approximately 130km northwest of Santiago, the capital of Chile.

The refinery receives crude oil through pipelines from the Quintero maritime terminal.

Refinery processing facilities

The  refinery houses various processing units, including the vacuum distillation, visbreaking, catalytic cracking, continuous catalytic reforming, hydrocracking, mild hydrocracking, diesel hydrotreatment, petrol hydrodesulphurisation, alkylation, delayed coking, and isomerisation units.

The other units in the refinery include sulphuric acid regeneration plants, a sulphur fixation plant, and mercaptan oxidation (Merox) treatment plants.

The refinery produces a range of products, including petrol, diesel, aviation kerosene, kerosene, liquefied gas, solvents, fuel oil, asphalt, and coke.

Aconcagua cogeneration power plant

The ENAP Aconcagua refinery utilises a 77MW natural gas-based cogeneration power plant built near the refinery site. The cogeneration plant provides approximately 35MW of electricity to the refinery, apart from supplying  high-pressure steam at a rate of 125t per hour for various processes in the refinery. The surplus electricity generated by the plant is transmitted to Chile’s National Electric System (SEN).

Commissioned in June 2020, the Aconcagua cogeneration plant enabled the reduction in emissions mainly due to the shutdown of two pre-existing boilers in the refinery. The process steam for the refinery is now being supplied through a 1.5km-long pipeline from the cogeneration power plant.

Contractors involved

DuPont Clean Technologies agreed to license its BELCO® wet scrubbing technology in order to reduce the sulphur oxide and particulate emissions from the Aconcagua refinery’s fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit in January 2021. DuPont will provide a BELCO® wet scrubber for the FCC unit.

The BELCO® wet scrubbing technology can be employed to reduce particulate, SOx and NOx emissions from the FCC units, as well as the fluid cokers, fired heaters, and the boilers. Earlier, DuPont supplied a BELCO® wet scrubber for an FCC unit at ENAP’s BioBio refinery in 2018.

DuroFelguera (DF) was awarded a turnkey contract worth approximately £76.38m ($119m) for the installation of a cogeneration plant in May 2015. The plant comprises a 77MW gas turbine and a boiler capable of producing 125t of steam an hour.

General Electric supplied the gas turbine for the cogeneration plant, while Nooter/Eriksen supplied the heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) for the project.

Técnicas Reunidas was awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for an alkylation unit in the Aconcagua refinery in 2008. Previously, Tecnicas Reunidas was also awarded the FEED contract for the same project.

The scope of the contract included the detailed engineering, supply of equipment, and the plant construction. The alkylation unit, commissioned in 2012, includes a diolefin saturation plant, a butane isomerisation plant, and a sulfuric acid regeneration plant.

ENAP entered into an agreement with Foster Wheeler Iberia, Man Ferrostaal, and TécnicasReunidas for the financing, construction and operation of a delayed coking facility in Aconcagua refinery in July 2005. The delayed coker unit was expected to process approximately 20,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil into light products.

The delayed coker plant, owned by Energía Concón (ENERCON), started operations in August 2008. ENAP holds a 49% stake in ENERCON, while Foster Wheeler Iberia, Man Ferrostaal, and Técnicas Reunidas hold a 17% stake each. The total investment on the project was approximately £245mn ($430mn).