First large-scale HVO plant in Latin America

Brazilian agro-energy investor, the ECB group, has hired international banks UBS and Barclays to act as financial advisors for the funding of Latin America’s first large-scale hyrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) plant, Reuters reported on 11 November.

ECB planned to start construction on the 20,000 barrels/day plant in Paraguay in March 2020.

The fuel produced would be mostly exported to Canada, Europe and the USA, Reuters wrote.

The plant would also produce synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK), a renewable aviation fuel.

Spain’s engineering group Acciona SA had been selected to build the plant, which would use technology from US firms Honeywell UOP and Crown Iron Works, ECB said.

ECB head Erasmo Battistella said the company had bought the land near Asunción, Paraguay’s capital city, and was finalising the project, with initial operation projected for 2022.

He said Paraguay was chosen as a location because of the local supply of soyabeans, good export logistics using the nearby Paraná River and a favourable tax system for exports.

Battistella believed these factors would allow production from the plant to be competitive in export markets, even when considering freight costs, Reuters wrote.

ECB estimated a total capex of around US$800M.

The company also operated biodiesel plants in Brazil, Reuters reported.