Refining Community Logo

RE: Shell Restarts Anacortes Coking Refinery

Home Forums Coking News: DCU, Upgrader 1.Coker (registered users only) Shell Restarts Anacortes Coking Refinery RE: Shell Restarts Anacortes Coking Refinery


Charles Randall

Offline Question on Shell Anacortes Coke & Response with History/background:

Dear Charlie, Many thanks for Your very interesting comments and articles.
One thing, I understand that Shell and Tesoro have cokers in their refineries in Anacortes in Wa, but I have never heard about this pet coke in the market. Is this because all or most is channelled to anode grade??

CR Response :
No problem – hope things are going well with you.

Yes Shell Anacortes goes (at least past) mostly into the Anode market & mostly to Alcan for use in its Canada calciners. This has been an interesting refinery for years because of its strange position in US/ refining industry/coke market/location ect.
<Bear with me for an old fart to share long trail of oddities! Ha>

First the only reason Alcan (& Oxbow) gets primary use of this petcoke is the US stupid “Jones Law” which says that going from US port to US port must use US flagged vessels – originally put in place in early 1800’s to allow US West Coast to control Alaska Gold market & flow food/supplies into Alaska. Never mind that US vessels are no longer competative outside (or even inside) US or that there are even many Handmax or larger vessels – because of high cost US sailors, high regulation/specs on US vessels & cheap foreign alternates. So….. Alcan can go from Anacortes ports thru the Panama Canal & arounnd East Coast, Down the St Lawerence CHEAPER than US calciner can take coke from Anacortes to US Gulf coast!! Boils my blood.

Next – Shell Anacortes Coking Refinery was originally Texaco Anacortes (coker circ 1985) that was rolled into the Equilon & Motiva Joint Ventures with Shell & Saudi Arabia/Aramco (~1997). When Texaco merged Cheveron it was forced sell its JV assets with Shell (~2001). All Equilon assets ~became Shell (JV pool was really via Texaco asset – nor real Saudi JV) although think Anacortes still uses Equilon name (which shows up sometimes confuse outsiders) and sometimes Anacortes is listed as Puget Sound Washington location as well. <Also beware that Shell has another small asphalt refinery in Anacortes as well just add confusion>. The Motiva assets remain with that name because Shell & Saudi’s took over the Texaco assets but retained the JV aspect.

And if that wasnt enough oddity – the Anacortes petcoke is a form of Anode coke that is balance on knife edge between anode & Shot fuel coke by both its feedstock properties / crude mix & its operational parameters. It is a form of Isoentropic coke that is precursor to formation to spherical shot coke (like Shot/Fluid cokes) – in fact under microscope you can see some sycle shaped particles (resemble one partial phases of moon) which is similar to what the Exxon Baton Rouge petcoke sometimes also does. Any slight shift in either operating (shorter cycle time/higher temp/ect) or charge (less ANS/more Canadian or sour crude) and this petcoke would become a mixed shot coke or completely shot coke.

Keep watch on both the Tesoro Coker addition (that was cancled due cost last cycle – also because Kinder Morgean PL with CA crude not to WC yet) and the COP Anacortes coker addition (also canceled due 2X cost – both chose California refinery expansions (Golden Eagle & Bakersfield)… regret that now with all crazy regulations). When these get back on planning it will likely signal end to anode coke in WA.

Tesoro does not have coker in Washington …… yet. It does take in lot Sweet Canadian & ANS that would make anode grade but starting in 2008 it began switching to more foreign sour (may swung back due crazy WTI indexed cost on sweet now) including CA bitument. BP at Cherry Point/Ferndale & Shell Anacortes are only two coking refineries in Washington currently.

Sorry for long winded answers but perhaps this will help firm up answers for you on Washington cokers.

Also as bonus round – the Jones act reason WC anode cokes not normally going into US Gulf/Inland calciners ……… is same reason Fuel cokes from St Croix-Hovensa go Europe (VI is US owned – hence Jones Act applies) while St Croix-Aruba goes to US (NL owned – hence no Jones Act reg or costly frieght).


Refining Community