The largest U.S. refinery started a deliberate one-month overhaul on Monday of its key crude oil processing unit, stated three sources aware of plant operations.

Motiva Enterprises completed shutting down the big crude distillation unit (CDU) at its 603,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery on Sunday evening to begin the work on Monday, the sources stated.


The 325,000 bpd VPS-5 CDU is scheduled to stay shut via February for the overhaul, its first because the unit started full manufacturing in 2013, the sources stated.

Motiva additionally took down the coking unit related to the CDU. The 110,000 bpd DCU-2 coker will likely be shut via mid-March for a deliberate overhaul, the sources stated.

Both models had been a part of a $10-billion growth of the Port Arthur refinery between 2007 and 2012 that greater than doubled the plant’s capability to over 600,000 bpd.

VPS-5 suffered disastrous piping injury in early June 2012 from chemical corrosion, about six weeks after starting preliminary manufacturing following building. The injury required eight months of repairs.

The prolonged shutdown of the marquee crude unit strained what was then a 50-50 partnership between Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Saudi Aramco.

Aramco grew to become the only proprietor of Motiva and the Port Arthur refinery in a negotiated break-up of the partnership on May 1, 2017.

Most refinery models are shut for a full overhaul about each 5 years.

VPS-5 is the most important of three CDUs on the Port Arthur refinery. The different two stay in operation.

The CDUs do the first refining of crude oil and provide hydrocarbon feedstock for all different models.

The coker converts residual crude from VPS-5 into motor gasoline feedstock and petroleum coke, which can be utilized as a coal substitute.

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