Valero Memphis Said to Shut Production Units After Blower Fails

Valero Energy Corp.’s Memphis refinery was forced to shut its biggest crude unit and only fluid catalytic cracker after an air blower failed on March 7, a person familiar with operations said.

The catalytic cracker, 100,000-barrel-a-day crude unit and a hydrocracker were scheduled to be closed before April 1 for six weeks of work, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The units will now be shut until after repairs are complete, the person said. The air blower that failed, which lifts catalyst into the cracker’s reactor, was scheduled for replacement during the planned work, the person said.

Bill Day, a spokesman for the company in San Antonio, declined to comment.

Valero announced in October that it would start eight weeks of work in March that would include maintenance on a crude unit and the fluid catalytic cracker.

The 195,000-barrel-a-day Memphis plant runs primarily light and sweet crude oil delivered by the Capline pipeline, according to Valero’s website. Capline runs from St. James, Louisiana, to Patoka, Illinois.

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