Motiva Restarts Two CDUs at Port Arthur Refinery After Power Outage

(Reuters) — Motiva Enterprises restarted two crude distillation units (CDUs) overnight at its 626,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas refinery, the nation's largest, after a power outage on Wednesday, people familiar with plant operations said on Thursday.

Motiva began restarting the gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracker (FCC) on Thursday morning, the sources said.

The 200,000-bpd VPS-4 CDU, 90,000-bpd VPS-2 CDU and 81,000-bpd FCC were among nine units shut by the power interruption as a line of severe thunderstorms, which spawned one tornado, swept over east Port Arthur, according to a notice the company filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

The refinery's largest CDU, the 350,000-bpd VPS-5, remained in operation, according to the sources.

The company's 54,000-bpd DCU-1 coker, an 18,000-bpd alkylation unit, an 85,000-bpd CRU-5 reformer and a 49,000-bpd CRU-4 reformer were also shut along with two hydrotreaters, according to the TCEQ notice.

VPS-4 is the second-largest and VPS-2 is the smallest of three CDUs breaking down crude oil into feedstocks for all other units at the Motiva refinery.

Hydrotreaters use hydrogen to remove sulfur from hydrocarbon products in compliance with the U.S. environmental rules.

Cokers convert residual crude oil from distillation units into either motor fuel feedstocks or petroleum coke, a coal substitute.

Reformers and alkylation units use a different process to produce octane-boosting components, which are added to unfinished gasoline to make premium-grade fuels.

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