Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery HCU Shut Down following Steam Loss

Reuters, August 24, 2016

The hydrocracking unit at Marathon Petroleum Corp's 459,000 bpd Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, was shut on Sunday after the steam supply was temporarily lost at the refinery, said sources familiar with plant operations. Marathon was able to restore the steam supply within about 45 minutes of its outage early on Sunday morning. But the 60,000-bpd hydrocracker, called the Ultracracker, which uses hydrogen under high pressure to produce diesel and jet fuel from gas oil, was shut down. All other units were brought back to stable operations by mid-afternoon on Sunday, the two sources said.

A Galveston Bay Refinery electrician was injured while working on the Ultracracker on Friday. The electrician was listed in fair condition at a Galveston, Texas hospital on Sunday, a hospital spokesman said. He was being treated 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 were released.

According to a notice Marathon filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that was 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 were released, including 1.1 pounds of hydrogen sulfide in the leak on Friday.

Separately, only a portion of the coking complex has restarted from 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. It was quickly extinguished 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, was 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.


(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Peter Cooney and Biju Dwarakanath)

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