MOSCOW (MRC) -- Valero Energy Corp is starting up production on a new coker at its 335,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.
The startup of production on the new 55,000-bpd coker follows completion of an overhaul of the 115,000-bpd AVU-147 crude distillation unit (CDU), the sources said. Valero continues to struggle with restarting the 66,000-bpd gas oil hydrotreater (GOHT) shut by a fire on Sunday, the sources said.
A Valero spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment. The GOHT sustained another small fire during a start-up attempt following the fire on Sunday. The unit, which uses hydrogen to remove sulfur from gas oil, gasoline and diesel feedstock, also had fires last week prior to the blaze on Sunday.
CDUs break down crude oil into feedstocks for all other units at the refinery. AVU-147 is the smaller of two CDUs at the refinery. Cokers convert residual crude oil from distillation units into either feedstocks for motor fuels or petroleum coke, which can be used as a coal substitute.
The new coker will eventually lead to an increase in production capacity at the Port Arthur refinery by taking additional residual crude produced by the CDUs as they process more crude oil. Valero officials have said the new coker will be in production by early May.
We remind, Valero Chief Executive Joe Gorder said this week U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was told at a recent White House meeting with energy executives that refineries shuttered in the last few years won't return production.