Korean GS Caltex says unsure when will restart fire-hit hydrocracker and aromatics unit

MOSCOW (MRC) -- GS Caltex, South Korea’s second-largest oil refiner, said on Monday that it was unsure when it would be able to restart a hydrocracker and aromatics unit after they were hit by fire last month, reported Reuters.

The refiner in August experienced two fires at its Yeosu refinery, southwest of Seoul, shutting its 66,000-bpd vacuum residue hydrocracker (VRHCR) and one of its petrochemical units.

"We are not sure of the timing, but we will resume operations when it’s deemed safe," a company spokesman said.

The 790,000-bpd facility will be able to keep churning out enough oil for domestic demand, but its exports may be crimped slightly, the spokesman added.

GS Caltex is equally owned by GS Energy Corp, a unit of GS Holdings and US oil major Chevron Corp.

As MRC informed before, in 2013, CB&I was awarded a contract by GS Caltex for the license, basic engineering and catalyst supply for a new paraxylene (PX) unit to be built in Yeosu, Korea. The unit will use the BP paraxylene technology, exclusively licensed by CB&I, and will have a world-scale design capacity. Start-up was expected in 2016.

Pemex expects Salina Cruz refinery to be back online in 3–4 weeks

MOSCOW (MRC) — Mexican state oil company Pemex expects Salina Cruz refinery, the country’s largest, to be up and running in three or four weeks once it has repaired the electrical system damaged by an earthquake last week, said Reuters.

Pemex’s refinery boss Carlos Murrieta said on the radio that the earthquake damaged the turbogenerators at Salina Cruz refinery, which lies near the epicenter of Thursday’s quake and can handle up to 330,000 bpd.

He said that he expected the southwestern refinery, which was shut down following the 8.1 magnitude quake, to be fully operational in three to four weeks.

Murrieta said that Mexico’s fuel needs were covered for two months as Pemex bought extra fuel shipments after hurricane Harvey interrupted fuel exports from the crucial US energy hub of Houston.

Magellan Midstream probes big Texas fuel spill during Harvey floods

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Magellan Midstream Partners LP said on Tuesday it was investigating the cause of a nearly 11,000-bbl gasoline spill from two above-ground fuel storage tanks at its Houston-area terminal in Texas during Hurricane Harvey, said Reuters.

The leak at the Galena Park terminal is the biggest spill reported so far relating to the storm, which unleashed record flooding in the state in late August, destroying homes and killing scores of people. The Environmental Protection Agency has said federal and state authorities responded to spills linked to Harvey at about a dozen industrial facilities.

"The exact cause of the tank failures is now under investigation," Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine said. He said the company believed it was related to the flooding. Magellan has cleaned up much of the spill, and recovered an undisclosed amount that escaped off the terminal's property into a nearby ditch and the Houston Ship Channel, Heine said.

"Clean-up activities at the facility are continuing and we are currently removing and replacing affected soil," he said. The spill occurred on Aug. 31, Heine said. Magellan had initially reported a smaller volume of gasoline spilled to state authorities, but adjusted its estimate upward after it was able to make a full assessment, he said.

"It's Magellan's long-term practice to conservatively report a product release to appropriate agencies and local authorities as soon as we become aware of a potential incident," he said, explaining the smaller initial estimate. "In other words, we do not wait until absolute confirmation, as we want to give the earliest possible notice."

Magellan has said that much of the rest of its infrastructure has returned to normal after the storm.

Hurricane Harvey caused US Gulf Coast refinery runs to drop - EIA

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Hurricane Harvey has caused substantial disruptions to crude oil and petroleum product supply chains and increased petroleum product prices, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

For the week ending Sept. 1, gross inputs to refineries in the US Gulf Coast fell by 3.2 MMbpd, or 34%, from the previous week, the largest drop since Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. Weekly refinery utilization in the region fell from 96% to 63%, while other areas of the country remained virtually unchanged.

Just over half of all US refinery capacity is located in the US Gulf Coast (defined as Petroleum Administration for Defense District 3). Texas, where Harvey made landfall, represents 31% of all US refinery capacity, based on data from January 2017. These refineries supply petroleum products to domestic markets on the Gulf Coast, East Coast and Midwest, as well as to international markets.

The Gulf Coast region is also a key storage area for crude oil and petroleum products. As of March 2017, 49% of total US working crude oil storage capacity and more than 40% of working storage capacity for both motor gasoline and diesel fuel were located in the Gulf Coast region.

Refinery operations are largely dependent on a supply of crude oil and feedstocks, electricity, safe working conditions, workforce availability, and outlets for production. As a result of Hurricane Harvey, many refineries in the region either reduced runs or shut down in its aftermath.

Many crude oil and petroleum product pipelines were also affected by the hurricane, including the Colonial Pipeline system. Colonial connects 29 refineries and 267 distribution terminals and carries up to 2.5 MMbpd of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from Houston to as far north as New York Harbor. Colonial typically operates at or near full capacity, but as a result of Hurricane Harvey and the decreased supply of petroleum products available to ship, Colonial Pipeline briefly curtailed operations and shipped products intermittently before resuming operations at reduced rates of flow on Sept. 6.

As supplies were disrupted, the East Coast drew down inventories of motor gasoline. East Coast total motor gasoline inventories in the week ending Sept. 1 fell by 2.2 MMbbl, or 3.5%, compared with the previous week. Almost all of this drawdown occurred in the Lower Atlantic region, which stretches from Virginia to Florida. This weekly drop in inventories was smaller than the drop that occurred following a previous outage of the Colonial Pipeline in September 2016, when Lower Atlantic gasoline inventories fell by nearly 6 MMbbl.

As MRC informed before, on 4 September 2017, the US Gulf Coast moved closer to recovery from Hurricane Harvey when the biggest American fuel system restarts a key segment shut down by devastating rains and officials weigh how to pay for billions of dollars in damage.

EPA says no volatile chemicals found in water near Arkema plant in Texas

MOSCOW (MRC) — Water samples collected after an Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas caught fire following a power outage due to Tropical Storm Harvey contained no volatile chemicals, the US Environmental Protection Agency said Friday, said Reuters.

The Arkema plant experienced a series of fires as a result of sensitive organic chemicals that rose to dangerous temperatures after the facility lost power due to storm flooding.

People in a 1.5-mi radius around the plant, located about 20 mi northwest of Houston, were evacuated after company officials said an explosion or large fire was likely because the organic peroxides used to make plastics and other products could not stay cool enough.

The EPA, in its statement, said that no “volatile organic chemicals or semi-volatile organic chemicals were detected in the surface water runoff samples,” which were collected on Sept. 1.

The investigation, which involves the US Chemical Safety Board, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and other state, federal and local agencies, is ongoing.

The first explosion took place on Aug. 31, several days after Harvey hit. The storm dropped several feet of rain in the Houston area.