ExxonMobil Starts New Crude Unit at Beaumont Refinery

Reuters, March 1, 2023

Exxon Mobil Corp started the new crude distillation unit (CDU) at its 369,024 barrel-per-day (bpd) Beaumont, Texas refinery, people familiar with plant operations said on Wednesday.

Exxon plans for the new CDU C to be producing at its full 250,000-bpd capacity by the end of the first quarter of 2023, the company said on Wednesday.

"Our teams have worked diligently over the past four years to ensure the success of this expansion," Exxon spokesperson Chevalier Gray said. "We have commissioned the units and initiated startup procedures to begin processing crude."

When CDU C reaches full production, the Beaumont refinery's crude oil processing capacity will increase by 68%, reaching 619,000 bpd and making it at least the second largest by capacity in the United States.

However, increased production efficiencies on the two CDUs operating at the refinery, plus the possibility CDU C could exceed its nameplate capacity of 250,000 bpd, may make the Beaumont refinery the largest in the nation.

Exxon began the initial startup of CDU C on Friday, the sources said.

Exxon spent $2 billion building the unit between 2019 and 2022. CDU C was commissioned in January. The company began consideration of adding the new unit as early as 2014 to take advantage of crude oil the company was pumping out of the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico.

The Beaumont refinery was selected for the new unit because an Exxon crude oil pipeline runs from the Permian to a terminal near the refinery.

Exxon's total refining capacity will increase by 17% once the unit is in full operation.

CDU C will begin producing diesel and other motor fuels while ramping up to full capacity, Gray said.

"Those products will be sold to customers, increasing supply to the market during a time when demand is high," she said.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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