Citgo Said to Plan Lemont Vacuum Unit Restart in Mid-January

Citgo Petroleum Corp. will try to restart the vacuum section of a crude unit at its Lemont refinery in mid-January that was shut after an October fire, according to a person familiar with the progress of repairs.

The company is repairing areas around the vacuum unit, including pipe racks that were damaged in the fire, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Fernando Garay, a spokesman for Citgo in Houston, didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment today.

A fire on Oct. 23 shut the atmospheric and vacuum portions of a crude unit at Citgo’s 170,500-barrel-a-day refinery in Illinois, which processes mostly heavy Canadian crude.

The incident left the refinery’s only crude unit visibly leaning to the side, two people familiar with plant operations said previously, asking not to be identified because the information wasn’t public. The fire took place while a malfunctioning pump was being replaced, the people said.

The plant restarted the atmospheric distillation section of the crude unit on Nov. 11, according to a company statement.

The company must demonstrate the safety of its repaired unit to state officials before restarting it, according to the Illinois attorney general’s website.

Citgo is the Houston-based unit of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company.

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