Ecopetrol reports refinery production jump

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Colombia's Barrancabermeja refinery set a polyethylene production record in November as state oil company Ecopetrol seeks to boost the profitability of its petrochemicals business.

Polyethylene output from the facility in Santander department reached 5,450t, up from 5,288t in October, Ecopetrol said in a statement on Tuesday. The company did not state the previous record figure.

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The refinery is on track to produce 44,072t of polyethylene this year, up 41% on the 2014 tally, according to Ecopetrol.

The company expects to produce 55,000t from the unit in 2016.

Polyethylene is the world's most common plastic, widely used for packaging foods and beverages.

Ecopetrol said the production boost follows refurbishment work on a turbo-expander plant which converts ethane into ethylene, the raw material used to make polyethylene.

"The upgrade of the turbo-expander unit was part of a strategy to increase refining and petrochemical production and raise profit generation," refinery manager Orlando Díaz said.