BP ramps up heavy crude throughputs at Whiting

BP PLC is in the process of boosting heavy crude oil runs at its 413,000-b/d refinery at Whiting, Ind., following the yearend 2013 completion of a modernization project designed to increase the plant’s ability to process heavy, sour crude (OGJ Online, Dec. 18, 2013; July 1, 2013).

“At Whiting right now, all of the units are commissioned, and we’re ramping up,” BP Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said during a quarterly earnings call on Feb. 4.

While the company was running some heavy crude during late-2013, BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley declined to specify the amount of heavy crude throughputs at the refinery, citing it as “trading-sensitive information.”

Dudley said, “But we were running some heavy crude at the end of the year there, minimal amounts as we were commissioning [units]. Now we’re working through that sort of post-startup testing set of activities.”

But a timeframe for when Whiting would reach its full heavy crude processing capacity remained unclear.

“We’re going to progressively ramp it up,” Dudley said. “We can’t be specific on the pace because we are going to fine tune it as we go.”

The Whiting refinery currently can run up to 380,000 b/d of heavy crude, Gilvary said during the call.

Both Dudley and Gilvary reiterated that the reconfigured Whiting refinery remains on track to deliver an estimated incremental $1 billion of operating cash flow/year, depending on market conditions (OGJ Online, Dec. 18, 2013).

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