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Alon Big Spring Refinery Said to Plan March Crude Unit Shutdown

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Alon USA Energy Inc. will shut the crude unit at the Big Spring oil refinery in Texas at the beginning of March for work that will help increase the plant’s distillate yield, a person familiar with the schedule said.

Modifications to the crude unit are expected to take about 30 days to complete, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The 70,000-barrel-a-day refinery is finishing repairs on the alkylation unit and plans to shut the catalytic cracker for work by the end of the month, the person said.

Blake Lewis, principal of Dallas-based Lewis Public Relations and an external spokesman for Alon, referred to the company’s last earnings call, during which Alon President Paul Eisman said the refinery would perform a maintenance turnaround in the first quarter.

Upgrades to the crude unit are expected to improve the refinery’s distillate recovery by about 2,000 barrels a day, Eisman said during the call on Nov. 8. The plant’s throughput was expected to be 55,000 barrels a day in the first quarter.

The refinery is hoping to finish the distillate project by the middle of summer after tying new equipment into the crude unit following the March shutdown, according to the person familiar with the plan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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