Washington, 23 February, 2011 (Argus) If the proposed merger between US independent refiners Holly and Frontier is completed, intermediate feedstock from Holly’s 125,000 b/d refining complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma, would be processed by spare fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) capacity at Frontier Oil’s 130,000 b/d refinery in El Dorado, Kansas.
Holly expects between 3,000-4,000 b/d of either atmospheric gasoil or vacuum gasoil could be sent to Frontier’s gasoline-making FCC at El Dorado. The connection would allow higher crude throughput in Tulsa, where Holly is integrating two refineries to form a 125,000 b/d complex.
HollyFrontier the proposed name of the combined company would need to develop a pipeline to ship the intermediate material from Tulsa to El Dorado, though the feedstock could move by truck or railroad, Holly spokesman Neale Hickerson said.
The feedstock is available early in the refining process. Atmospheric gasoil is made after crude goes through the initial distillation tower. Refiners can derive more material by running the gasoil through a vacuum unit, which continues the distillation process at a lower pressure and produces vacuum gasoil.
In Tulsa, Holly has been working to integrate an 85,000 b/d refinery acquired from Sunoco and a 70,000 b/d refinery acquired from Sinclair to remove constraints in the standalone plants. Prior to the 2009 acquisitions of those facilities, the Sunoco refinery’s crude throughput had been constrained by a lack of downstream finishing capacity. The Tulsa integration work is expected to be complete by the end of the first quarter.
Holly and Frontier announced merger plans yesterday. The combination, which would create a midcontinent-focused 440,000 b/d independent refiner, is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, pending regulatory and shareholder approval.