Motiva Port Arthur Said to Shut Hydrocracker Up to Six Weeks

Motiva Enterprises LLC’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery will take two to six weeks to repair a hydrocracker damaged in an Aug. 17 fire, a person familiar with plant operations said today.

The refinery is operating at less than half its 600,000-barrel-a-day capacity because the largest crude unit has been idling since the fire, said the person, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The 325,000-barrel-a-day crude unit will be out of production until the refinery finds a source to purchase its output of vacuum gasoil that would normally be fed to the hydrocracker to make motor fuel, the person said. Repairs to the hydrocracker will include the unit’s wiring and instrumentation, the person said.

Even before the hydrocracker fire, production was reduced after an Aug. 12 fire in a sulfur recovery unit’s reactor. The refinery is forced to operate four nearby hydrotreaters and three lube units at lower rates while the unit is shut for repairs estimated to take up to two weeks, the person said.

Destin Singleton, a Houston-based spokeswoman for Motiva, said yesterday that Motiva shut down a unit on Aug. 17 after an “operational issue.” She said that while repairs are being made, several integrated units will run at reduced rates and others are being shut down. She said today that she has no updates on Port Arthur operations.

Motiva’s Port Arthur plant is the largest U.S. refinery. Motiva is a joint venture between refining units of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco.

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