ABB wins $21 million power order to support oil refinery extension in Colombia

New substation to facilitate reliable power supply to expanded downstream operations
Zurich, Switzerland, July 23, 2013 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has won an order worth around $21 million from EPM, a public electricity, gas and water utility, for the construction of a new gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) transmission substation that will help boost capacity and power supply to support the expansion of a crude oil refinery in Santander, northern Columbia. The order was booked in the second quarter.

The turnkey project is scheduled for completion by 2015, and will include delivery of key products such as high- voltage GIS, auxiliary systems and cables. ABB will also supply the automation, control, protection and communication systems, conforming to international IEC 61850 standards. This will enable local and remote monitoring and control of the power assets. The substation will also be equipped with two capacitor banks, to reduce electricity losses and enhance the stability and quality of power supply by improving the network's power factor, which is an indicator of the usable power available in the grid.

“The new substation will enhance transmission capacity and boost electricity supply while ensuring reliability and quality of power to the critical processes of the refinery” said Oleg Aleinikov, head of ABB’s Substations business, a part of the company’s Power Systems division. “The GIS technology being deployed has an extremely compact footprint and is ideal for challenging conditions and applications such as these where reliability and safety is paramount.”

Colombia is well-endowed with minerals and energy resources with the largest coal reserves in Latin America and significant nickel, gold, silver, platinum, and emerald deposits. It is second only to Brazil in terms of hydropower potential.

The country has a capacity of approximately 2 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves, with several new exploration blocks being added. Much of Colombia's crude oil production occurs in the Andes foothills, the eastern Amazonian region and Meta department, in central Colombia with its Llanos basin where the largest producing oil field in the country, Rubiales is located.

The country’s 290,850 billion barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil refining capacity is accounted for by five refineries. Although Colombia is a net oil exporter, it needs to import some refined products, especially diesel fuel, as domestic demand outstrips refining capacity, prompting the expansion of local facilities.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs more than 145,000 people.

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  • Harmeet Bawa
  • Head of Communications
    ABB Power Products and Power Systems
    Tel: +41 43 317 6480
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