By ALISON SIDER
Motiva Enterprises has successfully restarted the expansion segment of its Port
Arthur, Texas, refinery after months of setbacks
and false starts, a spokeswoman for the company said.
Kimberly Windon, a spokeswoman for Royal Dutch Shell, said
the refinery's new crude distillation unit, VPS 5, was safely
restarted over the weekend and will ramp up to full production
early this year.
Motiva is a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Aramco.
The companies spent $10 billion to expand the Port Arthur
refinery to 600,000 bpd, making it the largest refinery in the
A person familiar with the refinery's operations said Tuesday
that the expansion segment will run at
200,000 to 225,000 bpd for about three to four weeks before
ramping up to its full capacity of 325,000 bbl.
But the new crude unit has experienced several problems
since it first debuted last spring. The unit underwent six
months of repairs when caustic -- a chemical that neutralizes
the acid in heavy, sour crudes but can also corrode steel --
leaked into the unit and caused extensive corrosion throughout
The crude distillation unit is the first step
in the oil refining process, separating oil
into different cuts that form the basis of different fuels.
The process of restarting the unit began late last year, but
was further delayed by the discovery of new pipe leaks and a
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