Valero St. Charles Seeks to Double Size of Planned Rail Project

Valero Energy Corp. is seeking approval to double the amount of crude handled by a planned rail project at the St. Charles, Louisiana, refinery and to add a unit to a proposed plant expansion.

A permit application filed with the state on Oct. 24 shows plans for an rail car unloading station that could receive as much as 30,000 barrels a day, up from 15,000. Valero was authorized to build the project in January.

The company also asked to revise an expansion project first approved in 2007 so that the refinery can add a catalytic naptha hydrotreater. Once that’s complete, Valero plans to operate an aromatics BTX extraction unit, a fourth sulfur recovery unit, a sixth river dock and a new crude desalter.

“The application was done in anticipation of possible future projects that have not been approved or budgeted yet,” Bill Day, a spokesman at Valero headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail today. “All of these are still in the discussion phase, and so it’s too early for us to talk about them in detail.”

Valero requested the permits be issued on an expedited basis by Feb. 28. The revision to the expansion is the final design change for the project.

The St. Charles refinery has a capacity of 250,000 barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It receives oil by pipeline from the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port and from five docks along the Mississippi River, according to Valero’s website.

Valero said in a presentation for an energy conference in September it expected to transport 20,000 barrels a day of Canadian heavy crude to the plant by the first quarter of 2014 using company-owned rail cars.

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