Exxon plans January coker, crude unit work at Louisiana refinery -sources

A view of the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., May 15, 2021. Picture taken May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn/File Photo

HOUSTON, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) plans to shut a coker and crude distillation units (CDU) for maintenance work at its 520,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery in January, said sources familiar with the company’s plans.

Exxon spokesperson Julie King declined to comment on upcoming work at the Baton Rouge refinery.

The 50,000-bpd Far East Coker will be shut in early January for replacement of all four of its coke drums, the sources said. The work is expected to take 68 days to complete.

While the coker is shut, maintenance work will be done on the CDUs beginning with the 210,000-bpd PSLA-10, the largest of the four at the refinery.

Following PSLA-10, work will then be done on the 110,000-bpd PSLA-9 and then on the two 90,000-bpd CDUs, PSLA-7 and PSLA-8, according to the sources.

CDUs break down crude oil into feedstocks to be made into motor fuels, lubricants and plastics. CDUs are the first units to process crude.

Cokers crack gunky, residual crude oil form the distillation units into feedstocks for motor fuels or petroleum coke, which can be used as a coal substitute.

The residual crude is heated to its thermal cracking temperature of 900 Fahrenheit (480 Celsius) and then injected into the giant drums where it is spun until it hardens against the drum wall.

High pressure, hot water jets then cut the hardened coke away from the drum wall and the bottom of the drum opens to dump the coke into a collection area.

Reporting by Erwin Seba in Houston Editing by Matthew Lewis

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