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Mid April construction and maintenance update

Hydrocarbon Engineering,



ExonMobil has shut its Joliet refinery in order to conduct planned routine maintenance. The closure encompasses all units.


An unexpected loss of power in the Port Arthur region of Texas has caused problems for a number of refineries in the area.

Electrical issues led to the complete shut down of Motiva’s 600 000 bpd refinery, and also of Valero Energy Corp.’s 310 000 bpd refinery.

Total Petro Chemicals and Refining USA has said that its 174 000 bpd refinery in Port Arthur also experienced operational problems, as well as a small fire in one of the plant’s vacuum distillation units.


The Flint Hills Resources oil refinery in Rosemount has brokered a deal with environmental groups in the region that removes any potential obstacles from its planned US$ 400 million upgrade.

Under the agreement, Flint Hills will limit the growth if its greenhouse gas emissions and attempt to curb air pollution. It will also contribute US$ 1 million to ‘Project Green Fleet’; a Minnesota effort to help the owners of school buses, construction equipment and other vehicles to retrofit diesel engines in order to make them cleaner.

The upgrade to the refinery is hoped to boost efficiency, enabling it to operate at an increased capacity, closer to its design capability of 320 000 bpd.

Work is planned to commence next year and, when it does, approximately 500 new workers will be employed on five year contracts. It is also anticipated that 100 permanent roles will be generated.


Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd plans to expand its refining capacity from 30.5 million t to 47.5 million t within the next 3 – 4 years.

Rs 10 000 crore will be spent on the Numaligarh refinery, expanding capacity from three to nine million t. At its Mumbai refinery, it is hoped that capacity will be increased from 12 to 14 million t. The Kochi refinery will expand from 9.5 million t to 15.5 million t, at a cost of Rs 15 000 crore.

The total cost of expansion will be approximately Rs 32 500 crore.


Oman Oil Refineries and Petrochemical Companies (Orpic) is in talks with two local banks in an attempt to raise US$ 2.5 billion in order to fund expansion of its Sohar refinery.

The banks in question are the National Bank of Oman and HSBC Oman. US$ 1.5 billion of any loan agreed would be used to upgrade a crude oil processing unit at the refinery in order to increase output from 116 000 bpd to 180 000 bpd. The remaining US$ 1 billion is intended to refinance an old loan, taken out in 2007, for a previous expansion.


The Ugandan government has agreed with Total and CNOOC that its planned refinery will be much smaller than it originally intended.

Total and CNOOC insisted that there was insufficient local demand for a refinery of the size the government wanted and have instead favoured a pipeline to export most its crude via Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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