Motiva Postpones Port Arthur CDU Overhaul to January; Smaller Unit Reopens This Week

(Reuters) — Motiva Enterprises moved the start of a planned overhaul on the large crude distillation unit (CDU) and coker to January from March at its 626,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, the nation’s largest, people familiar with plant operations said on Wednesday.

Motiva continues to plan to restart the smallest CDU at the Port Arthur refinery on Thursday or Friday, the sources said.

A Motiva spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Motiva moved the overhaul to January because the 110,000-bpd DCU-2 coker needs to shut to refurbish equipment on the unit before it sustains an unplanned failure, the sources said.

The 350,000-bpd VPS-5 supplies DCU-2 and will have to shut while the coker is down. Work will be performed on VPS-5 to repair wear and tear.

Motiva will also shut a sulfur recovery unit while VPS-5 and DCU-2 are shut.

VPS-5 is the largest of three CDUs at the refinery breaking down crude oil into feedstocks for all other units at the refinery. Its addition in 2012 more than doubled the refinery's capacity.

The smallest CDU, 90,000-bpd VPS-2, is scheduled to begin restarting on Thursday or Friday after undergoing an overhaul that began on Aug. 23, according to the sources.

Motiva planned to restart VPS-2 in early November, but had to extend the work to patch additional cracks found in the unit's processing tower, the sources said.

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