Fire at LA Refinery, Again

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 @ 02:03 PM gHale

While a hydrocracker was in the process of getting back to full production after a fire last August, caught fire again at Motiva Enterprises’ 235,000 barrel per day (bpd) Convent, Louisiana, refinery Saturday, officials said.

There were no injuries in the fire that broke out shortly before noon on the 45,000 bpd heavy oil hydrocracker, called the H-Oil Unit, which was in the process of restarting to full production for the first time since a fire last August, said two sources familiar with plant operations in a Reuters report.

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Motiva’s spokeswoman, Angela Goodwin, did not identify the unit involved in the fire.

A spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said the they were able to extinguish the blaze quickly.

The August fire heavily damaged the unit and forced it to remain shut down until late November when it returned to production at half capacity. 

The unit was shut on March 3 to tie together the H-Oil Unit’s second repaired production train with the one repaired in 2016. Each production train accounts for half the unit’s capacity. Prior to Saturday’s fire, the unit had been expected to reach full production sometime next week.

The H-Oil Unit converts residual crude under high heat and pressure in the presence of hydrogen into motor fuel. Most refineries send residual crude like that which the H-Oil Unit processes to a coking unit to produce motor fuel feedstock and make petroleum coke, a coal substitute.

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