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Downstream news from the Americas

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Hurricane Earl 

Earl hit the barrier islands of North Carolina on Thursday and is now making his way towards New England and Canada. However, the ‘good news’ is that he has been down graded from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 2 storm.

The US Energy Information Administration has estimated that Hurricane Earl could affect 1.1 million bpd of US refining capacity including facilities in Philadelphia, New York and Virginia.


Chevron is going to shutdown its North Burnaby facility from 17th September – 26th October for scheduled maintenance. This is the third ever largest shutdown of the facility and the FCC unit and SRU will be inspected. Residents near the refinery have been told to expect a higher than normal flare at the start and towards the end of the maintenance work.


ExxonMobil Corp and PDVSA’s joint venture Chalmette refinery will shut three secondary units. This is a reconfiguration plan as the joint venture look to save US$ 9 million a month at the facility. It is speculated that a distillate hydrocracker, gasoline reformer and coking unit will be shutdown however, the shutdowns are not expected to affect the 196 000 bpd production from the refinery.


After the East Side oil refinery was threatened with closure nearly two weeks ago, ( a Franlin County judge has given the facility a second change. The judge has ordered Heartland to carry out a maintenance review of the facility in hope that the source of the offending smell (the original source of complaint) will be found and stopped.

Husky Energy Inc. has warned that the shutdown of a process machine that has malfunctioned at its Lima refinery will cause larger then normal flaring. Despite the shutdown of the unspecified processing unit, production will not be affected.


Frontier Oil Corp. has announced that a crude unit at its Cheyenne refinery that suffered a fire at the end of July is now fully online. Frontier are projecting an average production of 32 000 bpd in the third quarter of this year.

InterOil Corp. has agreed on a settlement in a dispute over the sale of a refinery. The company are going to pay US$ 12 million in the form of 199 667 shares of stock to a partnership that bought a refinery from the company.


Small units that were offline at PDVSA’s Curacao refinery are now up and running. The units were shutdown due to problems at a utility plant nearby which provided the plant with water, electricity and steam. However, it has been reported that the key catalytic cracker is likely to be offline for several more weeks.

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