Total has completed a three-year, $2.2 billion expansion of its refinery in Port
Arthur, Texas, with all new units successfully started and
onstream (Fig. 1). The deep conversion project included a 50,000-bpd coker,
55,000-bpd vacuum distillation unit (VDU-2) and
64,000-bpd distillate hydrotreater (DHT-3) (Fig. 2). The units
expand the companys ability to process heavy and sour
crude oil and produce cleaner transportation fuels, such as
ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD), officials said.
Fig. 1. Totals refinery complex in Port
Fig. 2. Petroleum coke
is produced when the
delayed coker is in operation and is cut
the units coke drums every 1820
producing about 2,000 tpd of coke. The coke
sent to a dock via a conveyer and is sold as
What it means.
Having the ability to access what the market gives you
on raw materials is very important, said Darrell Jacob,
refinery manager for Total in Port Arthur. This project gave us the access to a much
wider range of crudes. As far as ultra-low-sulfur diesel,
thats what the transportation fuels market demands,
he added. The expansion will allow the refinery to produce 3 million tons
more of ULSD for automotive use, Jacob noted (Fig. 3).
Fig. 3. The new
produces ULSD, which is a more
Milestone for Total.
Michel Benezit, an executive vice president for France-based
Total and president of refining and marketing, called it an
important milestone for Totals downstream operations,
also noting that the new production was more environmentally-friendly. It
allows us to adjust to a changing crude market and gives us
more flexibility in supply, said Benezit.
Refineries have to be flexible in the purchase of crude
and the changing specifications.
Benezit attended a ceremony in Port Arthur on May 5 to
inaugurate the facilitys improvements, which also
included a coker naphtha hydrotreater, hydrogen purification
unit and sulfur recovery units. In addition, Total said the
power supply of the refinery was modernized during the
expansion when it was connected to a new 230kV network. That
has revamped or affected nearly every other process unit in the
refinery, officials said.
The company noted that the Port Arthur refinerys integration with its adjacent joint
venture (with BASF) petrochemical plant would offer
additional market opportunities to maximize
profits. Officials did not comment on whether they were
considering an expansion of that facility. Petrochemical producers such as Dow
Chemical and LyondellBasell said in recent weeks that they were
considering expanding their US Gulf plants amid increased feedstock availability.
The Port Arthur deep conversion project was announced on
Feb. 12, 2008, employing more than 17,000 construction workers throughout the
project. Workers logged nearly 18
million work hours upon completion, exceeding 5-million safe
work hours without a loss time incident on two separate
occasions, the company said. Total officials said they
recognized that work by awarding the refinery with its highest
company safety award.
The Total Port Arthur refinery has a capacity of 232,000
bpd, according to the US Energy Information Administration
(EIA), making it the 27th-largest in the US.