MOSCOW (MRC) -- LyondellBasell Industries, one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, was restoring production at its 263 Mbpd Houston refinery after a midday power interruption robbed the plant of steam supply last week, as per Reuters.
"Operations impacted by the power interruption from the external electrical and steam supplier have resumed," Lyondell spokeswoman Faye Eson said in an emailed statement.
A single turbine producing steam was restarted mid-afternoon by supplier Calpine Corp., said a Calpine spokesman.
Three Gulf Coast market sources said the refinery's two crude distillation units were operating at mininum levels, and a plan was being developed to restart the 90 Mbpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit over the weekend.
Each of the two CDUs was operating between 80 Mbpd and 90 Mbpd. The larger of the two crude units has a capacity of 147 Mbpd, while the smaller unit’s capacity is 120 Mbpd.
The timing of the FCCU's return may depend on the restart of a second steam-producing turbine, so the unit has redundant supply, according to the sources.
Eson said no injuries were reported at the refinery due to the loss of steam, which powers turbines, compressors, and for the flare system.
A thick plume of black smoke, visible 10 miles away, streamed from the refinery for about two hours after the steam loss.
Before the steam loss, the refinery had been at reduced production levels since Wednesday, when the 42 Mbpd coking unit was shut to replace piping in the unit that may be subject to corrosion, the sources said.
Thursday was the second time this month Lyondell had to contend with an unplanned interruption.
A power outage at the sulfur recovery complex earlier in the month triggered 12 hours of flaring at the refinery that released 592,500 pounds of sulfur dioxide, according to a regulatory notice.
CDUs do the initial refining of crude oil coming into the refinery and provide feedstock for all other units. Cokers boost the yield of refinable material taken from barrel of oil and convert residual crude to petroleum coke.
As MRC wrote previously, in mid-May 2016, LyondellBasell declared a force majeure on linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) following unexpected mechanical issues at plants in Texas and Illinois. The La Porte plant has an annual LLDPE capacity of 355,166 mt/year and the Morris facility has an annual LLDPE capacity of 295,292 mt/year.
LyondellBasell is one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies and a member of the S&P 500. LyondellBasell manufactures products at 56 sites in 19 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.