The vacuum tower project has increased distillate recovery at the plant by 2,000 b/d, allowing the refinery to increase utilization of various process units, Alon said.
As a result, the increased utilization has supported a rise in crude throughput rates at Big Spring to 73,000 b/d from 70,000 b/d, with no negative impact on finished product yields, Alon said.
Since completion of the projects, crude throughputs at the Big Spring refinery have stood at about 73,000 b/d, the company said.
While the refinery had a throughput rate of about 39,000 b/d during this year’s second quarter, the company said it expects total crude throughputs at Big Spring during the third and fourth quarters to reach 74,000 b/d and 75,000 b/d, respectively.
Alon postponed until this year’s second quarter the planned turnaround at Big Spring to allow time to better integrate the implementation of the vacuum tower project with the turnaround, the company said in a Jan. 27 news release.
In addition to boosting the Big Spring refinery’s distillate production and improving energy efficiency, the vacuum tower project was designed to increase the plant’s ability to handle lighter shale crude oil feedstocks, Alon said.