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 Arthur, Texas.
Fig. 2. Petroleum coke is produced when the
delayed coker is in operation and is cut from
the units coke drums every 1820 hours,
producing about 2,000 tpd of coke. The coke is
sent to a dock via a conveyer and is sold as an
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 distillate hydrotreater
produces ULSD, which is a more
environmentally friendly fuel.
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. HP