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Conoco plans to sell or shut Trainer refinery: early October downstream update

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

ConocoPhillips is planning to either sell or shutter its 185 000 bpd refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania due to poor margins.

The move forms part of the company’s plan to cut back on unprofitable operations. Other East Coast refineries appear to be heading in the same direction, as two other facilities have come up for sale in September alone.

East Coast plants, which are typically reliant on costly crude imports from the North Sea and West Africa, have seen profits squeezed by rising prices for those grades in recent years.

The other two refineries earmarked for closure are Sunoco’s Marcus Hook and Philadelphia refineries, totalling over 500 000 bpd of lost capacity. There is also speculation that Conoco’s 285 000 bpd Bayway refinery in New Jersey could be a further target for closure.


A planned flaring event is due to finish on October 3 at BP’s 260 000 bpd Carson refinery.


PBF Energy’s 182 200 bpd refinery at Delaware City reported flaring on 30 September due to a switch failure. The malfunction caused the refinery to exceed its permitted levels for sulfur dioxide pollution.


Valero Energy Corp has completed the purchase of Murphy Oil Corp’s 125 000 bpd Meraux refinery for US$ 585 million. This price included US$ 260 million for inventory on hand at the complex, as well as an adjacent product terminal, a 20% equity interest in the Collins Product Pipeline and T&M terminal, and a 3.2% interest in the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port.


ExxonMobil’s 60 000 bpd Billings refinery remained running at reduced rates on 29 September, despite the fact that the company has recently restarted a crude pipeline that supplies it.


Motiva Industries, a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco, has announced that its expansion project of the Port Arthur refinery. The complex, which currently has 275 000 bpd capacity, is starting up a new power plant that will provide electricity for the expansion, due to come online early next year. The project will take the capacity to 600 000 bpd.

A fire broke out on September 30 in a crude distillation unit at Petrobras’ 100 000 bpd Pasadena refinery, but the blaze was controlled quickly and no one was reported injured.

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