Placid refinery expansion on schedule

This article was changed to correct an employment figure on Dec. 19.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 18 -- Privately owned independent refiner Placid Refining Co. LLC said its previously announced $300 million project to upgrade and expand its Port Allen, La., refinery is on schedule for completion in first half 2010.

The project will expand the refinery's crude throughput capacity to 80,000 b/d from 55,000 b/d while cutting total air emissions in half. All existing process units are being expanded and upgraded. In addition, a fluid catalytic cracker gasoline hydrotreater, sulfur extraction capacity, tankage, and other environmental improvements are being constructed to enable the refinery to meet all applicable clean fuel standards for its products. The upgrades will allow the company flexibility to utilize a less expensive, higher sulfur crude oil mix in its production process, officials said.

Placid currently supplies 35-40% of the gasoline consumed in the Baton Rouge area. The refinery's gasoline production will increase to 1.5 million gpd from 1 million gpd when expansion is completed. Diesel production will increase to 1 million gpd from 750,000 gpd. The modifications will create 25 new permanent positions at the refinery. The 80-acre Port Allen refinery was purchased by Placid in 1975 and is the company's only manufacturing facility. Placid is one of the largest employers in West Baton Rouge Parish.

The first phase of the upgrade started in June with construction of an 18,000 b/d gasoline desulfurization unit, a flue-gas scrubber for the facility's FCC, and other infrastructure improvements (OGJ Online, July 23, 2007).

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