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Citgo crude unit damaged by Lemont refinery fire

10.25.2013  | 

The fluid catalytic cracker and one side of the coker are shut, said the people, who asked not to be identified. The alkylation unit is operating while output at other downstream units, including hydrotreaters, is reduced. The refinery provides gasoline and diesel to Chicago and the upper Midwest.

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By BARBARA POWELL
Bloomberg

Citgo Petroleum's only crude unit at its refinery in Lemont, Illinois, is listing and initial assessments indicate it may have sustained extensive damage in a fire Oct. 23, said two people familiar with plant operations.

The fluid catalytic cracker and one side of the coker are shut, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The alkylation unit is operating while output at other downstream units, including hydrotreaters, is reduced, they said.

The refinery provides gasoline and diesel to Chicago and the upper Midwest.

“The Lemont refinery is a significant supplier of both gasoline and diesel fuel into the Chicago market,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston. “A lengthy shutdown would require supplies being made up by Gulf Coast refineries.”

The crude unit, whose capacity matches that of the 170,500-bpd refinery, is visibly leaning, the people said. The Oct. 23 fire occurred while a malfunctioning pump was being replaced, the people said.

A report filed with the National Response Center dated Oct. 24 said there was a spill of vacuum tar bottom, a raw material used in making bitumen.

Fernando Garay, a spokesman for Citgo in Houston, said Thursday in an e-mail that refinery operations have been “significantly reduced” while some downstream units were operating. He said the company didn’t have a schedule for when the crude unit would be operational.

He did not issue an update Friday and did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on refinery operations.



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Hirak Dutta
01.28.2014

The spill from Vacuum bottom implies perhaps leak from VDU's bottom pump due to seal failure. Is it so? Pl share the RCA.

Skip Richardson
11.04.2013

This is the second such fire at this location in the past 7 years. The last one took out piping but do not remember if any refinery personnel were injured. I hope not as I am called to be involved in the repair aspect and have to work with plant personnel on a regular basis.

yogin
10.31.2013

Dear Thomas

Nice point people are mostly concerned about production and profit. Least they care for people who are operating those huge plants.

Thomas Robins
10.29.2013

Regarding the initial reporting of the Lemont Refinery Fire:
I'm always surprised by the media reporting on these events at how much attention is paid to the marketing impact and how little is paid to possible human cost in injury or death. Would it be too much to ask that the reporting give some idea as to whether anyone was hurt? At a minimum, it would be responsible to state if it is too early to tell if anyone was injured. It's not out of morbid interest. We who work closely to the operating equipment really care about safety and the well being of refinery personnel.

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