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Exxon Louisiana refinery restart depends on natgas supply

February 13/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Restarting Exxon Mobil Corps 502,500 barrel-per-day (bpd) Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery after an early morning fire will depend on how quickly natural gas supply can be restored to the crude distillation units (CDUs), reported Reuters with reference to sources familiar with plant operations.

The fire broke out in a natural gas pipeline supplying the units before midnight on Tuesday, the sources said. The fire was put out on Wednesday morning, the company said. No injuries were reported.

Exxon had made preliminary plans to restart the Baton Rouge refinerys large CDU, the 210,000 bpd PSLA-10, before the fire was extinguished, the sources said. The unit cannot be restarted until the natural gas supply is restored.

Most of the refinerys units, including the three CDUs, were shut early on Wednesday, the sources said.

Exxon spokesman Jeremy Eikenberry declined on Wednesday to discuss the status of units at the refinery. He did say operations were continuing at the refinery and adjoining chemical plant.

Eikenberry also said Exxon would continue to meet its contractual commitments.

The 210,000-bpd PSLA-10 CDU is the largest of three at the refinery doing the primary conversion of crude oil into hydrocarbon feedstock for all other production units. The natural gas is used to operate the units as they breakdown crude oil.

One of the two 110,000-bpd gasoline producing fluidic catalytic cracking units (FCCUs) continues to operate at a minimal production level while one of the light ends units is also operating at minimum rates, the sources said.

The Baton Rouge refinery is the second-largest in Louisiana and the fifth-largest in the United States by capacity. It is Exxons second-largest refinery in the nation.

The company also operates a cracker at this site with the annual production capacity of 1 mln tonnes of ethylene 575,000 tonnes of propylene, which was shut for maintenance on 11 February 2019 to mid-Apirl 2019.

As MRC informed before, in September 2019, ExxonMobil announced plans to spend GBP140 million over the next two years in an additional investment program at its Fife ethylene plant, which has a capacity of more than 800,000 t/y.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,093,260 tonnes in 2019, up by 6% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. PE shipments rose from both domestic producers and foreign suppliers. The estimated PP consumption in the Russian market was 1,260,400 tonnes in January-December 2019, up by 4% year on year. Supply of almost all grades of propylene polymers increased, except for statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers).

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, PP random copolymer, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, Exxon Mobil, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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