Flint Hills plans desulfurization unit at West Plant

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 8 -- Flint Hills Resources LP, Wichita, Kan., plans to add a diesel desulfurization unit and a sulfur recovery unit to its 56-year-old West Plant, part of the company's 300,000 b/d Corpus Christi, Tex., refinery complex.

The sulfur recovery unit will enable the refinery to process additional feedstocks, including heavier and sour crudes, the company said.

Construction on the $250 million project likely will begin this fall and is expected to take 18 months to complete, the company said.

Flint Hills's Corpus Christi complex is among the nation's lowest-emitting refineries. Latest data indicate air emissions of commonly regulated substances of 0.09 lb/bbl of oil refining capacity. The industry average is 0.19 lb/bbl of refining capacity.

The West Plant, which included a petrochemicals production operation, was purchased from Sun Oil Co. in 1981 and later combined with the adjacent Gulf States refinery, purchased a year later. In 1994, the $250 million mid-plant refining complex was completed with a capacity to process 150,000 b/d of crude oil. Kerr-McGee Corp.'s Southwestern Refinery on Nueces Bay Blvd. (now known as the East Plant) was acquired in 1995 and the complexes are operated as one refining and chemicals complex because of the addition of a state-of-the-art Central Control Center and pipelines connecting both facilities.

In 2001, the company began producing low-sulfur gasoline following a $32 million project. In 2002, the company spent an additional $145 million on projects that further increased the amounts of low-sulfur fuels produced and marketed.

Since 2002 Flint Hills has completed capital expansions and acquisitions worth more than $3 billion.

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