PBF restarts Chalmette, La., hydrotreater early: sources

HOUSTON (Reuters) - PBF Energy began restarting the cat feed hydrotreater at its 190,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Chalmette, Louisiana, oil refinery on Monday, a day ahead of schedule, two sources familiar with the plant’s operations said.

PBF had planned to begin the restart of the 45,000-bpd cat feed hydrotreater, which was shut on Oct. 7 for a catalyst change, on Tuesday, the sources said.

The catalyst change on the hydrotreater is running about a week behind schedule, the sources said.

PBF spokesman Michael Karlovich declined on Monday to discuss operations at the refinery.

PBF continues to raise the production level on the 10,000-bpd Coker 1 that the company restarted last week for the first time in nine years, the sources said on Monday.

The coker was idled in 2010 after an economic recession drove down demand for motor fuels. At the time, the refinery was a joint venture between Exxon Mobil Corp and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, Venezuela’s national oil company.

PBF announced plans to restart the coker in 2018 and said in October the restart was under way.

The hydrotreater uses hydrogen and the catalyst to remove sulfur from feedstock going to the gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit.

Cokers convert residual crude oil into either feedstock for motor fuels or petroleum coke, a coal substitute.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Peter Cooney and Chrsitian Schmollinger