March 14, 2018 / 7:01 PM / 8 days ago

Largest U.S. refinery completes first-quarter overhaul: sources

(Reuters) - The nation’s largest refinery finished a planned overhaul of some of its units on Wednesday which had cut production in half for part of the first quarter, according to sources familiar with plant operations.

Motiva Enterprises completed the restart overnight of the large coker at its 603,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, sources familiar with plant operations said on Wednesday.

The company’s media relations office declined to comment.

Motiva is raising production on Delayed Coking Unit-2 from 41 percent of its 110,000 bpd capacity on Wednesday morning to an anticipated 75 percent of capacity by Wednesday night, the sources said.

The coker, which converts residual crude oil from the largest distillation unit into motor fuel feedstock and petroleum coke, was shut in early February along with the other units.

The coker continues to have problems with a heater on the unit that halted the restart on Tuesday, the sources said on Wednesday.

Among the units shut for the overhaul was the 325,000 bpd VPS-5, the largest of three crude distillation units at the refinery. It restarted on March 8. While it was shut, production at the refinery was reduced by half.

VPS-5’s production has been cut back while the DCU-2 has been shut, but will increase along with the coker’s increasing ability to process residual crude.

Crude distillation units do the primary refining of crude oil and provide hydrocarbon feedstock for all other units in a refinery.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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