Vertex’s Alabama refinery ramps up conventional crude processing

Oct. 13, 2023
Vertex Energy said measures taken during the second quarter to improve feedstock sourcing and enhance operational efficiencies likely will result in higher-than-anticipated crude oil throughputs during the third quarter at the complex in Mobile, Ala.

Vertex Energy Inc. said measures undertaken during second-quarter 2023 to improve feedstock sourcing and enhance operational efficiencies likely will result in higher-than-anticipated crude oil throughputs during third-quarter 2023 at subsidiary Vertex Refining Alabama LLC’s 75,000-b/d refining and petrochemical complex in Mobile, Ala. (OGJ Online, July 11, 2023).

In an Oct. 13 update ahead of official third-quarter 2023 results on Nov. 7, Vertex said it expected the Mobile refinery’s quarterly crude throughputs between July-September averaged about 80,000 b/d, up from the operator’s previous forecast of 74,000-77,000 b/d.

Alongside increased crude throughputs, the yield of finished fuel products during the third quarter likely will account for 65-67% of the refinery’s total quarterly production volumes, higher than the previously forecasted range of 59-63%, according to the operator.

Vertex said higher-than-forecasted crude throughputs during third-quarter 2023 reflected the company’s continued focus on strengthening its conventional feedstock procurement program, which the operator initiated during the previous quarter in response to third-party disruptions to feedstock supply by certain vendors earlier in the year.

The refinery’s increased yield of finished fuel products during July-September resulted from implementation of a site-wide yield optimization initiative introduced early in second-quarter 2023, the operator said.

Renewable operations

Production rates for renewable diesel during third-quarter 2023 from the Mobile refinery’s Phase 1 renewables unit averaged about 5,200 b/d, down from the second-quarter 2023 achievement of its nameplate 8,000-b/d Phase 1 capacity, according to the operator.

Vertex said reduced production of renewable diesel during the quarter reflected the company’s strategic rate optimization based on the ongoing assessment and pathway development of the operator’s renewable feedstock optimization strategy, which began in the second quarter.

While Vertex confirmed completing its internal quality approval process for the proposed optimization strategy as of Sept. 30, 2023, for a combination of eight different feedstock blends, the operator said its plan continues to await evaluation and approval by the state of California to ensure distribution and sale of its renewable fuels in the regional market.