Sources: New Exxon Beaumont, Texas Crude Unit Completes Startup

(Reuters) — Exxon Mobil Corp. completed the startup of a new $2 billion crude distillation unit (CDU) at its Beaumont, Texas, refinery, making the plant the second largest in the United States, said people familiar with plant operations.

The new 250,000 barrel-per-day (bbl/d) Crude C CDU lifts the Beaumont refinery's capacity to 619,024 bbl/d, second only to the Motiva Enterprises refinery in nearby Port Arthur, Texas, the people said.

An Exxon spokesperson was not immediately available for comment late on Wednesday.

Exxon has also restarted the Beaumont refinery's 65,000 diesel-producing hydrocracker, which was shut by a compressor outage on March 22, the people said.

The addition of Crude C comes nine years after Exxon first began considering the expansion to take advantage of new light oil production from the Permian Basin in west Texas and New Mexico.

An Exxon pipeline from the Permian to a nearby terminal made the Beaumont refinery the leading candidate for the expansion, though company officials have said other plants were considered.

Alongside Crude C, Exxon has said it built a hydrotreater.

Crude C is the third CDU at the Beaumont refinery. The CDUs break down crude oil into feedstock for all other production units.

Hydrocrackers use hydrogen and a catalyst under high heat and pressure to convert gas oil into diesel.

Hydrotreaters use hydrogen to remove sulfur from motor fuels in compliance with U.S. environmental rules.


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