Shell's Norco Refinery to Restart Crude, Gasoline, and Diesel Units

Reuters, October 29, 2021

Royal Dutch Shell Plc's storm-idled 230,611 barrel-per-day (bpd) Norco, Louisiana refinery plans to begin restarting the crude distillation unit (CDU), gasoline- and diesel-producing units as early as this weekend, sources familiar with plant operations said on Thursday.

The restarts of the 240,000-bpd DU-5 CDU, 112,000-bpd gasoline-producing residual catalytic cracking unit (RCCU) and 40,000-bpd diesel-producing hydrocracker will continue into next week, the sources said.

A Shell spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment.

The Norco refinery's 25,000-bpd coker and 40,000-bpd reformer will also be restarting in the next week, according to the sources.

The refinery was damaged on Aug. 29 by Hurricane Ida, which crossed over Norco, located 21 miles (34 km) west of New Orleans. The refinery was shut the day before the hurricane struck.

The refinery has completed restarting the 55,000-bpd diesel hydrotreater and two sulfur recovery units.

The adjoining Shell Norco chemical plant has restarted Gas Olefins-1 unit and plants to restart the Gas Olefins-5 unit during next week, the sources said.

CDUs do the initial breakdown of crude oil into feedstocks for all other units at the refinery. The coker converts residual crude oil from distillation units into either feedstocks to make motor fuels or petroleum coke, which can be used as a coal substitute. Reformers convert refining by-products into octane-boosting components added to gasoline.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Diane Craft and Rashmi Aich)

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