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Havana. November 12, 2014

Returning to Cabaiguán’s heyday of Base Oil production

Juan Antonio Borrego Díaz

CABAIGUÁN, Sancti Spíritus.—The until very recently dilapidated image of the Sancti Spíritus base oil plant, has been completely transformed following repair works carried out at this installation, belonging to the Ministry of Energy and Mines (Minem), the only one of its kind in the country.

Rigoberto Benavides, director of production at the Sergio Soto Enterprise, told Granma that the restoration, valued at more than 700,000 pesos and carried out by the company itself, included the comprehensive rehabilitation of acid treatment systems, neutralization systems and wastewater treatment, works which are unprecedented in the 25 years in which the entity has been operational.

In addition to the restoration and maintenance of all pumps and cables involved in the production process, a system for cleaning the gases generated was installed and a water tank used to clean the oil was replaced, all of which has placed the plant in a privileged position compared to previous periods.

Founded in 1989 and supplied by the Pina-Cristales-Jatibonico river basin, which provides low-sulphur crude oil, the industry caters to the domestic demand for insulating oil for electrical transformers of up to 13.8 kV and produces an essential component for the production of Sigatoka, a pesticide used against the disease of the same name affecting banana plantations in the country.

Sources close to this sector confirmed that the cost of dielectric oil produced in Cabaiguán does not exceed 950 CUC per ton, well below the price charged for this derivative on the international market.

The works undertaken in Base Oils form part of the rehabilitation strategy being implemented in the Sancti Spíritus oil refinery, where the vacuum and atmospheric distillation columns were also recently repaired, resulting in an appreciable improvement in crude oil distillation capacity.

In addition to dielectric oil and Sigatoka, AC-30 quality asphalt is also produced in Cabaiguán - primarily intended for use in the road works being undertaken in the Mariel Special Development Zone – as well as fuel oil, diesel, naphtha and a reducing solvent used in oil wells to reduce the viscosity of the crude.


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