LONDON, March 4 Oil major BP said on
Tuesday its Whiting, Indiana, refinery will sharply increase
processing of heavy crude grades within months to allow the
company to it boost cash flow generation.
The company told an investor presentation in London that the
refinery, which is currently processing 350,000 barrels per day
(bpd), would ramp up processing of heavy crudes to 280,000 bpd
in the next few months from the current 160,000 bpd.
The refinery has a rated capacity of 405,000 bpd.
BP said its target was to sustain heavy crude processing at
80 percent of capacity versus the previous 20 percent. That
should allow it to generate up to $1 billion of additional cash
flow post-tax, depending on market conditions, the company said.
Sharp price differences for various crude oil grades, driven
by congestion in the U.S. delivery infrastructure, could persist
for several years, allowing BP to continue to benefit from that
market trend, head of downstream division, Iain Conn, told the
BP plans no major fresh turnarounds for its U.S. Whiting
refinery any time soon, Conn told the conference in London.
BP began the planned overhaul of a 65,000-bpd
gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) at the
Whiting refinery on Feb. 24, Reuters reported last week.
Unit 600 was shut down the previous weekend in preparation
for the work and BP had been planning the overhaul of the unit
for more than a year. The overhaul is expected to take at least
The Whiting refinery's 110,000-bpd 500 unit is expected to
remain in operation while the work on the smaller of the two
FCCUs is under way.