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Motiva Said to Keep Port Arthur Crude Unit Shut at Least a Week

Motiva Enterprises LLC expects to take at least a week to repair a recurring leak on the 325,000-barrel-a-day crude unit at its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, a person familiar with operations said.

The plant will replace a section of pipe associated with the crude unit after several failed attempts to use a clamp to stop the leak, said the person, who declined to be identified because the information is not public.

The unit was shut Jan. 6 after a restart that began Jan. 3 was unsuccessful when the clamp failed. Kimberly Windon, a Houston-based spokeswoman for the refinery, said the unit was shut in an e-mail yesterday. She said “we still expect for this unit to be fully restarted in the early part of this year.”

The crude unit has been idled since a Dec. 11 fire that was caused by a leak on the unit’s heater outlet. A second fire broke out Dec. 17 during an earlier attempted restart. The company attempted the most recent restart Jan. 3. Workers had modified a clamp to stop the original leak, and it would not hold, the person said.

The crude unit, the largest of three at Port Arthur, shut for repairs several days after its May debut. It’s a key part of a $10 billion expansion that will almost double the plant’s processing capacity to 600,000 barrels a day. At full rates, the refinery would be able to make 240,000 barrels a day of gasoline and 190,000 barrels of diesel, according to the company.

Motiva is a refining and marketing joint venture of Saudi Refining Inc., a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., and Shell Oil Co., a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

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