By DAN MURTAUGH
Phillips 66 is considering building a condensate splitter at
its Sweeny refinery in Texas that could provide feedstock
to run more downstream
units at full capacity.
The USs most valuable refiner by market capitalization
is conducting preliminary engineering on such a unit, Jim
Webster, Phillips 66s general manager for midstream,
told reporters during a tour of the refinery
60 miles (95 kilometers)
south of Houston.
The company hasnt decided whether or where it would
build a splitter, which separates ultra-light crude oil into
unfinished products that could be sold to refineries or
blenders or exported overseas. Sweeny is a possibility
because its close to South Texass Eagle Ford
shale formation, which produces mostly ultra-light oil.
Sweeny, which is distilling about 255,000 bpd of crude,
doesnt produce enough unfinished or intermediate
products to fill all of its secondary units such as fluid
catalytic crackers, refinery
general manager Willie
Tempton Jr. said. Products from a splitter could go into
Texas has four refining
centers in Port Arthur,
Houston, Texas City and Corpus Christi, where refineries can
easily sell unneeded intermediate products to another plant
where its a useful feedstock
. Sweeny is relatively
isolated, making it more difficult to obtain intermediate feedstock
s from outside, said
Chris Chandler, Phillips 66s general manager of natural
The refinery is running about 60,000 to 70,000 bpd of mostly
Eagle Ford crude through its low-sulfur crude unit, and about
190,000 bpd of sour crude through its other distillation
tower, Tempton said.
The company is expanding natural gas liquids and export
capabilities at the refinery. At the corner of NGL Road and
LPG Road inside the complex, workers are preparing the ground
for Phillips 66s first wholly-owned fractionator, which
by 2015 will be able to convert about 100,000 bpd of mixed
NGLs into ethane, propane, butane and natural gasoline.
The company is also upgrading docks 30 miles from the refinery
in Freeport that it has
historically used to import crude and export refined
products. Phillips 66 by 2016 expects to be able to load at
36,000 bbl/hour of NGLs and refined oil products for export,
as well as loading crude on vessels to send to some of its
other refineries, Webster said.