Shell to shut Convent gasoline unit in June for overhaul – sources

FILE PHTO - A Shell logo is seen reflected in a car's side mirror at a petrol station in west London, Britain, January 29, 2015. Picture taken January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc RDSa.L plans to shut the gasoline-producing unit at its 227,586 barrel-per-day (bpd) Convent, Louisiana, refinery for a planned overhaul, sources familiar with plant operations said on Friday.

Shell spokesman Ray Fisher declined to comment.

The 92,000 bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) and 16,500 bpd alkylation unit are scheduled to be shut for about six weeks of work, the sources said.

Shell announced in November 2017 that it would keep the FCCU in operation for at least four to five years instead of permanently shuttering the unit, as previous owner Motiva Enterprises had planned to do because of the unit’s unprofitability.

Shell and Saudi Aramco co-owned Motiva until May 1, 2017, when they divided the partnership’s assets with Shell taking control of the Convent refinery and a 225,800 bpd refinery 41 miles (67 km) east in Norco, Louisiana.

Shuttering the FCCU was part of a plan to integrate the two Louisiana refineries into a single plant linked by pipeline. Shell also shelved those plans for up to five years, the sources said.

One of the reasons for keeping the FCCU open is to produce gasoline for export to Mexico, according to the sources.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy