• Ron Kotrba

Bolivia’s state-owned oil firm contracts Desmet Ballestra for biodiesel plant, pretreatment unit


Photo: Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos

Bolivia’s state-owned oil company Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos announced Sept. 12 that it has contracted Desmet Ballestra to build a biodiesel plant with the capacity to produce 1,500 barrels (63,000 gallons) per day, or approximately 22 million gallons per year (mgy).


The contract, signed by the general manager of YPFB Refinación S.A., Omar Alarcón Saigua, and Jerome de Bertoult, a legal representative of Desmet Ballestra, is part of a larger biofuel plant implementation project, which itself is part of Bolivia’s economic and social development plan for 2021-’25 that, among other aspects, seeks to reduce imports.

The estimated investment for the entire biofuel plant implementation project, which includes the building of two biodiesel plants as well as hydrotreated vegetable oil production, is USD$387 million with a production of 12,000 barrels (504,000 gallons) per day, or approximately 170 mgy.


The first project, referred to as the “Biodiesel-1 Plant,” is expected to cost USD$40 million and includes a nano feedstock-pretreatment unit as well as three special reactors for biodiesel production manufactured by Desmet Ballestra, which has built more than 120 biodiesel plants worldwide.


The contract not only includes the final design and supply of around 130 pieces of equipment, but it also provides technical assistance for operator-training activities, precommissioning, commissioning, start-up and performance testing, and more.


“We started the celebration, which we have as the national government for our department of Santa Cruz, launching the order to proceed to manufacture the equipment for the Biodiesel-1 Plant in this YPFB Refining infrastructure,” said Bolivian President Luis Arce Catacora. “Today we are starting, little by little and gradually, to stop depending on imports and have a more sovereign production.”


The Biodiesel-1 Plant will be built with advanced-technology equipment that will be manufactured in Europe, Asia Brazil and other countries to help Bolivia reduce imports and subsidies for diesel fuel.


Desmet Ballestra is a leading company dedicated to the engineering and supply of installations and equipment for biodiesel, oils and fats. It also provides services to the animal-feed industry, surfactant detergents, and related chemical industries. It also provides advice to the oleochemical industries.

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