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Mid September: North American downstream update

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


BP has restarted an alkylation unit at its refinery in Whiting India. The unit at the 400 000 bpd facility was originally taken offline for repairs. A gasoline FCC unit at the same facility is still offline as workers try to correct operational problems.


Maintenance at the Marathon Petroleum Corp owned Catlettsburg refinery has begun this week. The work was originally set to commence the week of 10th September. The FCC unit will be worked on for approximately 40 days.


On Monday 9th September, a rumbling noise prompted residents of Contra Costa County to call the police. The noise was traced to the Tesoro refinery where a leak had been discovered in the facility’s propane pipeline. The noise was caused by an extremely loud compressor, which was dealing with the excess of burn off gas caused by the leak.


Calumet Montana Refining LLC is suspending all production at the Great Falls refinery to put in to action a maintenance program that has been planned for the last four years. The US$ 10 million project involves a complete inspection of all refinery equipment as well as making any necessary repairs.

New Brunswick

The Irving Oil Ltd. owned Saint John refinery has been given an award by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The award is for efforts that have been made at the facility to ensure that it is a tobacco free area. The award however, has drawn some criticism due to emission levels from refineries that can damage health more than smoke.

Nova Scotia

As of Sunday 15th September, bunker deliveries from the Imperial Oil owned refinery in Nova Scotia stopped. The plant is soon to be shutdown and converted in to a storage terminal, however, it is yet unclear as to if refinery operations have stopped as well as deliveries from the plant. The Dartmouth plant is being converted, as a buyer has not been found for the 95 year old facility.


Husky Energy Co. owners of the Lima refinery are considering investing US$ 300 million in the facility to improve processing. The investment will be spent to provide the facility with more processing flexibility when it comes to heavy crudes. The changes are set to be completed by 2017 and increase heavy crude processing to 40 000 bpd.


The first trial to deal with four of the 48 000 civil law suites filed against the Texas City refinery started last week. The refinery was owned by BP when in 2010, vapours were released from the hydrocracking unit that allegedly harmed the health of those living near the plant. The four plaintiffs whose suits were being heard last week are seeking US$ 200 000 each in compensation from BP. 


Shell is going to build a rail offloading facility at the Anacortes refinery. The addition will ensure that the plant can accept oil from the Bakken formation in North Dakota. The offloading facility will be able accommodate 100 car trains that will carry approximately 60 000 bbls of crude.

Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd.

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