Several ‘incidents’ reduce capacity at Motiva Port Arthur refinery

Two separate “incidents” that resulted in small fires at two separate, unspecified units at Motiva Enterprices LLC’s Port Arthur, Tex., refinery complex will result in the 600,000-b/d nameplate facility being run at a reduced capacity for an indefinite period of time, a spokeswoman for Royal Dutch Shell PLC confirmed for OGJ. Motiva is a refining and marketing joint venture owned by affiliates of Shell and Saudi Aramco.

The spokeswoman told OGJ that there were two separate incidents, one on Aug. 12 and another on Aug. 17. Both incidents are under investigation to determine the cause. One unit remains shut down following the incidents.

“I can confirm that the Motiva Port Arthur refinery initiated a safe and orderly shutdown on of one of its units on Aug. 17 following an operational issue, which resulted in a small fire,” the spokeswoman said. “There were no injuries, and the fire was extinguished, with no offsite impact,” she added.

“While repairs are being made to this unit,” the spokeswoman said, “operating rates on the other units in the site will be adjusted to optimize the overall site.” She added, “In keeping with our disclosure policy, we do not provide details with respect to specific units or how long the units will be down.”

Motiva completed a 325,000-b/d expansion of the Port Arthur refinery in 2012, which made it the largest US refinery (OGJ Online, May 31, 2012).

The expanded refinery can process a wide variety of crudes, ranging from relatively light to heavy. It also has the flexibility to switch between primarily producing gasoline and diesel to adapt to varying market conditions.

Contact Steven Poruban at

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