Premcor to expand Port Arthur refinery

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, May 20 -- Premcor Inc., Old Greenwich, Conn., announced plans Tuesday to enlarge its heavy crude oil refinery in Port Arthur, Tex., to increase oil throughput capacity by 75,000 b/d, to 325,000 b/d from 250,000 b/d.

About 80% of the oil the refinery currently processes is heavy, high-sulfur crude oil, with the remaining 20% medium-sulfur, medium-gravity crude. The project will enable Port Arthur to process 300,000 b/d of totally heavy, high-sulfur crude.

Premcor also will expand the refinery's coker unit—already one of the largest in the world, it said—to 105,000 b/d from its current stated capacity of 80,000 b/d.

The $200-220 million project is expected to be completed in fourth quarter 2005.

The expansion is an element of the company's program to increase its US-based refining profits. Other facets of the plan include reducing costs, the closing of a small Hartford, Conn., refinery last year, and the acquisition in March of a 170,000 b/d Memphis refinery from Williams Cos. Inc. of Tulsa.

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