March 5, 2018 / 2:55 PM / in 8 months

Biggest U.S. refinery restarting large crude unit after work: sources

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Motiva Enterprises’ 603,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) plant in Port Arthur, Texas, the largest U.S. refinery, is restarting its large crude distillation unit (CDU), sources familiar with plant operations said on Monday.

Motiva [MOTIV.UL] declined to comment.

Motiva shut the 325,000-bpd VPS-5 CDU in early February as part of a planned multi-unit overhaul, the sources said. The refinery is also restarting the 85,000-bpd catalytic reformer. Both units are scheduled to back in production by the end of this week.

The refinery’s 110,000-bpd Delayed Coking Unit-2 (DCU-2) is scheduled to restart early next week, the sources said. DCU-2 is the larger of two cokers at the refinery.

Motiva restarted the 115,000-bpd naphtha hydrotreater at the refinery on Thursday, the sources said.

The overhaul was the first for VPS-5 after it began sustained production in 2013 following eights of piping repairs from chemical corrosion that occurred two months after the CDU’s initial startup in April 2012.

VPS-5, DCU-2, the naphtha hydrotreater and the reformer were all added to the refinery in a $10-billion expansion project that was completed in 2012 and more than doubled the refinery’s crude oil processing capacity.

VPS-5 is one of three CDUs at the refinery doing the primary refining of crude oil and providing hydrocarbon feedstock to all other production units.

Cokers increase the amount of feedstock to make motor fuels and convert residual crude to petroleum coke.

Reformers convert refining byproducts into octane-boosting components blended into gasoline.

Hydrotreaters remove sulfur from motor fuels and their feedstocks in compliance with U.S. environmental rules.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao

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