March 2015

Columns

HP Editorial Comment: Downstream has good news for 2015

The outlook is optimistic for downstream companies. Independent refiners are positive on present and future demand for transportation fuels.

Romanow, Stephany, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

The outlook is optimistic for downstream companies. Independent refiners are positive on present and future demand for transportation fuels.

Investments by US independent

Valero Energy Corp. continues to strategically invest in its refining and logistics assets. New projects are focused on increasing the company’s ability to process greater volumes of light shale oil. Valero is building two crude topping units at its Corpus Christi, Texas and Houston, Texas refineries. When completed, the new units are expected to reduce feedstock costs at both refineries and add 160 Mbpd of total processing capacity for 50 °API crudes.

Distillate expansions

Valero is also expanding hydrocracking capacity within its network. The Meraux, Louisiana hydrocracker project was completed in the fourth quarter of 2014. Other expansion projects are underway at the St. Charles, Louisiana and Port Arthur, Texas refineries. Both hydrocracker projects will add 30 Mbpd of capacity and are expected to start up in the second half of 2015.

Focus on light domestic crude

Similar to Valero, Marathon Petroleum is increasing light sweet crude and condensate processing capacity. The company recently finished building a 25-Mbpd condensate splitter at its Canton, Ohio refinery. A 35-Mbpd splitter is slated for completion by the second quarter of 2015 at the Cattesburg, Kentucky refinery. Both refineries are near the Utica shale play. Also, a 30-Mbpd revamp is planned at the Robinson, Illinois refinery to improve the processing of light crudes; project completion is expected in 2016.

In December 2014, Flint Hills Resources began construction at the Corpus Christi West refinery. The project, named Project Eagle Ford, is expected to cost approximately $600 million. Construction will take 36 months. After the project is complete, the West refinery will have the capability to process 100% domestic crude. The West refinery is a 230-Mbpd refinery and is located near the Eagle Ford play.

Projects are moving forward in the US to handle greater volumes of domestic crudes and incorporate more flexibility and efficiency. HP

 
  Fig. 1. Valero’s Corpus Christi petroleum refinery was
  commissioned in 1983. It is one of the world’s most
  complex refineries.

The Author

Related Articles

From the Archive

Comments

Comments

{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}