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US downstream news: 22nd April 2014

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


The House Finance Committee has approved a tax credit subsidy plan for in state refiners but has scaled it back from what Governor Sean Parnell originally proposed.


Richmond residents, environmentalists and labour leaders attended a Planning Commission meeting on Thursday in regards to the US$ 1 billion modernization project at Chevron’s Richmond refinery.

Chevron has argued that the modernization project would simply replace old equipment in the refinery, including some piping, and any increases in emissions would be offset by cap and trade.

However, environmentalists remain concerned that Chevron also has plans to process heavier crude like Canadian tar sands.

Gulf Coast

Crude oil inventories on the Gulf Coast reached a record high of 207.2 million bbl on 11 April, as a result of continuing strong crude oil production growth, the opening of TransCanada’s Marketlink Pipeline, and a drop in crude oil inputs at Gulf Coast refineries due to seasonal maintenance, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).


Production units were shut down and non-essential employees evacuated from the BP Whiting refinery on Thursday.

An equipment malfunction caused several units to stop working.

Repairs were made and the units were restarted and back online within a couple of hours.


Chalmette and Meraux residents complained of a loud sound on Monday morning, which Valero Energy Corp.’s Meraux refinery later confirmed to have been generated by a problem with a heater in its benzene unit.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation.


The former Sunoco Marcus Hook refinery has been transformed into a natural gas hub.

Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. bought the property for US$ 60 million last year and is converting it into a major centre for processing and shipping NGL.

So far, workers have demolished ageing petroleum processing equipment and replaced it with cryogenic storage tanks.


The US Chemical Safety Board released a report last week on the 2009 explosion at the Silver Eagle Refinery. The report did not much vary from initial observations, highlighting that the rupture occurred in a 10 inch pipe at the bottom of a reactor in the mobile distillate dewaxing unit. That led to a huge release of hydrogen, which caught fire immediately and exploded.

Text was added to the bill that allows 40% tax credit for refinery investments up to a cap of US$ 10 million for a refinery.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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