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September 1, 2006 at 3:15 am #4151
BP Plc.’s giant Texas refinery will likely only reach a crude oil intake of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the end of the year, 100,000 bpd short of the company’s plan, according to sources familiar with refinery operations.
Production at the refinery will increase from the current 200,000 bpd with the restart of the plant’s ultraformer in the past few days, the sources told Reuters.
A BP spokesman declined to discuss refinery operations, citing company policy against doing so.
Both of the refinery’s operating gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking units — 125,000 bpd FCC No. 3 and 80,000 bpd FCC No. 1 — are undergoing maintenance expected to last through mid-October, the sources said.
The refinery is in the process of restarting units shut nearly a year ago when Hurricane Rita threatened the Texas coast.
The shutdown of the refinery led to rapid cooling of 27 miles of steam piping at the refinery, requiring extensive repairs of the piping and gasoline production units, according to an annual report BP filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June.
The smallest cat cracker at the refinery, 36,000 bpd FCC No. 2, is likely to remain shut indefinitely, one of the sources said.
Other sources said BP plans to simplify operations at the highly integrated refinery, which prior to Hurricane Rita had a rated capacity of 460,000 bpd.
“The new and revamped Texas City could be slightly smaller,” one of the sources said.
The high level of integration of Texas City refinery units has hampered efforts to select units on-line after Rita, the sources said.
Because of a devastating explosion at the refinery in March 2005, which killed 15 workers and injured 170 other people, BP has repeatedly said it would move slowly and carefully in restarting units following Rita.
BP’s refinery is one of the last of the Gulf Coast refineries affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which disrupted production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and at coastal refineries in the late summer and fall of last year.
Murphy Oil Corp.’s (MUR.N: Quote, Profile, Research) 120,000 bpd Meraux, Louisiana, refinery had by July restored almost all operations after being flooded by Hurricane Katrina in August.
By Erwin Seba
HOUSTON, Aug 21 (Reuters) –
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