HOUSTON (Reuters) - Motiva Enterprises’ [MOTIV.UL] 235,000 barrel per day (bpd) Convent, Louisiana refinery plans a partial restart of the heavy oil hydrocracking unit (HCU) by year-end, but full production is not expected to return before fall 2017 as repairs are made from an Aug. 11 fire, Gulf Coast market sources said on Monday.
In addition to extensive repairs required to return the 45,000 bpd hydrocracker, called the H-Oil unit, to production, Motiva will revamp the HCU during the shutdown for the planned linking of the Convent refinery with the company’s refinery in Norco, Louisiana sometime next year, the sources said.
A Motiva spokeswoman did not reply on Monday to a request for comment about plans for the Convent refinery.
Prior to the fire, Motiva had planned to shut the H-Oil unit on Feb. 1, 2017, for the revamp that will enable it to run a wider slate of feedstocks.
The H-Oil unit simultaneously runs two processes for producing diesel and jet fuel from gas oil. Each process is called a train and represents about half of the unit’s capacity.
Motiva expects to restart one train by year-end. The second train, which was extensively damaged in the fire, will take at least a year to restore, the sources said.
The length of repairs was based on a detailed inspection of the H-Oil unit conducted in the past few days, the sources said.
On the day of the fire, Motiva initially estimated the unit would be shut one to four months for repairs, sources told Reuters on Aug. 11
The combination of Motiva’s two Louisiana refineries was intended to reduce costs, in part by shutting the Convent refinery’s money-losing gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit by fall 2016 and concentrating on the more lucrative hydrocracker production.
Earlier this year, Motiva decided to keep the Convent FCCU in operation to at least June 2017, the earliest period when the combination is expected to be complete with construction of a 37-mile (60 km) pipeline between the two refineries and the revamp of the H-Oil and hydrotreating units.
Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alan Crosby