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Motiva to mothball Louisiana refinery FCC by 2016 amid transition to diesel

12.19.2013  | 

Motiva may add other equipment, such as a third crude unit, to boost its ability to make catalytic cracker feed. It’s more profitable for Motiva to make and sell feedstock to other refineries than to process it at Convent.

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By BARBARA POWELL

HOUSTON (Bloomberg) -- Motiva Enterprises plans to shut the fluid catalytic cracker at its refinery in Convent, Louisiana, by October 2016 because it’s unprofitable to operate, a person familiar with operations said.

The refinery’s crude units don’t produce as much feedstock, such as vacuum gasoil, as the unit can process. Motiva found it too costly to purchase additional feed, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. A catalytic cracker upgrades vacuum gasoil into gasoline and other fuels.

Motiva may add other equipment, such as a third crude unit, to boost its ability to make catalytic cracker feed. It’s more profitable for the company to make and sell feedstock to other refineries than to process it at Convent, the person said.

The company is alternately considering adding a ROSE unit, which can convert heavy residual fuel into feed for catalytic crackers, the person said. Motiva is also weighing whether to add a coker, another unit that breaks down residual fuel into lighter products, to back up its hydrocracker when that unit is shut for repairs, the person said.

Without a catalytic cracker, the Convent plant will focus more on making diesel, the person said.

Destin Singleton, a spokeswoman for Motiva in Houston, said in an e-mail seeking comment about these plans that she would respond as soon as possible.

Convent Units

In addition to the catalytic cracker, the refinery has two crude units, the hydrocracker, which converts heavy fuel oil into lighter fuels like gasoline, and an H-Oil unit, or heavy-oil cracker. An alkylation unit works in association with the catalytic cracker to make high-octane gasoline blending components.

Convent receives crude primarily by pipeline and distributes finished oil products by pipe, rail, truck and water to markets along the Gulf Coast and in the southeastern United States, the company said on its website.

The 255,000 bpd Convent plant is 80 km west of New Orleans. Motiva operates a second plant in Louisiana, the 250,000 bpd Norco refinery, about 21 km west of New Orleans.

Motiva is a refining and marketing joint venture of Saudi Refining, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian Oil, and Shell Oil, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell.



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