Steam Loss Shuts Hydrocracker

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 @ 01:08 PM gHale


The hydrocracking unit at Marathon Petroleum Corp’s 459,000 barrel-per-day Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, shut down Sunday after temporarily losing the steam supply.

Marathon was able to restore the steam supply within about 45 minutes of its outage early Sunday morning.

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But the 60,000-bpd hydrocracker, called the Ultracracker, which uses hydrogen under high pressure to produce diesel and jet fuel from gas oil, shut down.

All other units came back to stable operations by mid-afternoon on Sunday, said two sources familiar with plant operations.

Meanwhile, a Galveston Bay Refinery electrician suffered an injury while working on the Ultracracker Friday.

The electrician was in fair condition at a Galveston, Texas hospital on Sunday, a hospital spokesman said. He was undergoing treatment for lacerations and chemical exposure, according to a statement Marathon released on Friday.

Marathon spokesman Jamal Kheiry declined in an email message on Sunday to discuss operations at the Galveston Bay Refinery.

Kheiry also declined to discuss the man’s condition on Sunday.

The electrician was working on a level indicator when the substances released.

According to a notice Marathon filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality posted online Sunday, an estimated 1,749 pounds of pentane, 435 pounds of propane, 277 pounds of isobutane, 164 pounds of butane among other substances released, including 1.1 pounds of hydrogen sulfide in the leak on Friday.

Separately, only a portion of the coking complex has restarted after a planned overhaul that began in early July.

A small fire broke out on a coking unit during the restart on Aug. 16, the sources said. Workers quickly extinguished the fire with no injuries.

The coking complex houses two 13,500 bpd coking units.

The refinery’s 105,000 bpd catalytic feed hydrotreater, which removes sulfur from feedstock going to the gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit and was shut along with the coking complex, restarted this week, the sources said.

A coking unit increases the yield of refinable material from a barrel of oil and converts residual crude into petroleum coke, a coal substitute.