March 8, 2018 / 4:28 PM / 9 months ago

Largest U.S. refinery raising big CDU production after restart: sources

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Motiva Enterprises [MOTIV.UL] was raising production on Thursday on the big crude distillation unit (CDU) at the largest U.S. refinery, sources familiar with plant operations said.

Motiva restarted the 325,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) VPS-5 CDU overnight at its 603,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas, refinery and was preparing to restart the 110,000-bpd Delayed Coking Unit-2 (DCU-2), the sources said.

Motiva’s media relations office declined to comment.

The VPS-5 and DCU-2 were both shut in early February as part of a planned multi-unit overhaul at the refinery. DCU-2 is connected to VPS-5.

The refinery’s Naphtha Processing Complex completed restarting on Tuesday with the return of the 85,000 bpd reformer to production.

Last week, Motiva restarted the a 115,000-bpd naphtha hydrotreater in the Naphtha Processing Complex, the sources said.

The restart of VPS-5 was halted twice because of problems with crude oil flow within the unit. The restart began over the weekend.

It was the first complete overhaul for the units, which were added as part of a $10-billion expansion finished in 2012 that more than doubled the refinery’s capacity.

CDUs do the primary refining of crude oil and provide hydrocarbon feedstock to all other production units. Cokers convert residual feedstock to make motor fuels and convert residual crude to petroleum coke.

Reformers convert refining byproducts into octane-boosting components blended into gasoline, and 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 Tom Brown

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