HOUSTON, Dec 15, 2008 (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp plans to shut the 120,000 barrel per day gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracker No. 3 at its Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery for a four-week overhaul from early February into early March, sources familiar with the project said Monday.
An Exxon Mobil spokesman declined to discuss planned maintenance at the 503,000 bpd Baton Rouge refinery, which is the second-largest in the United States.
The Baton Rouge refinery has two FCCs, which can each process up to 120,000 bpd of feedstock into motor fuels. FCC No. 2 will continue to operate while FCC No. 3 is shut. Planning for the overhaul of FCC No. 3 has been going on for years, according to the sources.
While the FCC is shut, workers will also correct problems with the wet gas scrubber that serves both FCCs, the sources said.
Particulates, primarily the catalyst used in the FCCs, have increased in the past year because of degradation of parts of the wet gas scrubber, which is supposed to remove the material.
Exxon is also rebuilding a cooling tower that serves the alkylation unit at the refinery. The cooling tower was destroyed when Hurricane Gustav hit Baton Rouge with winds over 90 miles per hour (145 kph) on Sept. 1.
Construction of the new cooling tower is expected to finish by next spring.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Marguerita Choy)