(Adds details on problems)
HOUSTON, July 13 (Reuters) - Motiva Enterprises may be able to avoid shutting the gasoline-producing unit at the country’s largest refinery on July 23 for repairs, sources familiar with plant operations said on Friday.
Motiva spokeswoman Angela Goodwin declined comment.
Motiva on Thursday began planning the shutdown of the 81,000 barrel per day (bpd) gasoline-producing Fluidic Catalytic Cracking Unit 3 (FCCU 3) at its 603,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas, refinery due to excessive catalyst loss, the sources said.
If Motiva puts off the Monday, July 23 shutdown, it would be the second time this month the refinery has avoided shutting FCCU 3, the sources said.
The problems with catalyst clogging and loss began on Wednesday and Motiva planned to shut the catcracker on Thursday, but was able to keep the unit running at reduced production levels.
While keeping FCCU 3 operating, Motiva also began preparing to take the unit out of production on July 23 for a period that could be measured in weeks.
Within the refinery’s FCCU 3, the fine powder catalyst breaks down gas oil into gasoline and other products. (Reporting by Erwin Seba, editing by G Crosse)