Total Port Arthur FCC to remain shut for repairs

The gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracker (FCC) is expected to remain shut until the end of September at TotalEnergies SE’s 225,500-barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, said sources familiar with plant operations.

Most units at the refinery remain shut following an unplanned plantwide outage on Thursday, one day before the large crude distillation unit (CDU) and coker were scheduled to shut for a planned overhaul, the sources said. The overhaul began over the weekend.

The only unit operating on Monday was a 35,000-bpd reformer, which converts refining byproducts into octane-boosting components added to unfinished gasoline.

Total did not reply to a request for comment on Monday.

Thursday's plantwide outage began with the shutdown of the 76,000-bpd FCC due to a worsening leak on a boiler.

The FCC's shutdown cut off steam supply to the refinery, forcing the shutdown of the 60,000-bpd coker along with the 40,000-bpd ACU-2 crude distillation unit (CDU) and 51,000-bpd vacuum distillation unit 1 (VDU-1).

A leak then set off a small fire that was quickly extinguished on the 150,000-bpd ACU-1 CDU. So it and the 60,000-bpd VDU-2 were shut.

ACU-1, VDU-2 and the coker were scheduled to shut down on Friday for the overhaul planned to last about two months. The extensive overhaul is done every five years.

The FCC was previously shut for five days beginning Aug. 19 for repairs following a small fire.

CDUs do the initial breakdown of crude oil into feedstocks for all other units. VDUs break down residual crude oil from the CDUs into feedstocks for other production units. Cokers refine residual crude from the distillation units into either feedstocks for motor fuels or petroleum coke.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Peter Cooney

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