Motiva Port Arthur, Texas, refinery restarts gasoline unit: sources

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Motiva Enterprises [MOTIV.UL] completed restarting the gasoline-producing unit at its 607,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery on Sunday, sources familiar with plant operations said on Monday.

Motiva plans to begin shutting the 81,000 bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) as early as Thursday for a planned 50-day overhaul, the sources said.

The start of the overhaul may be pushed back about two weeks to Jan. 27, the sources said.

Motiva declined to comment on operations at the refinery.

The FCCU overhaul was originally scheduled to begin at the end of January, but had been brought forward as the unit begin struggling to maintain production, the sources said. A crew of maintenance workers have been performing repairs since mid-November to keep the unit in operation until the overhaul starts.

While the FCCU is shut, the 18,000 bpd alkylation unit and the 50,000 bpd cat feed hydrotreater will be shut for 30-day overhauls, the source said.

The FCCU uses a catalyst under high heat and pressure to convert gas oil into unfinished gasoline.

The alkylation unit converts refining by-products into octane-boosting components that are blended into gasoline.

The hydrotreater removes sulfur from feedstock going into the FCCU. Federal environmental rules require the sulfur be removed.

Reporting by Erwin Seba, editing by Louise Heavens and Grant McCool