By the OGJ Online Staff
HOUSTON, Oct. 17 -- CITGO Petroleum Corp. said Tuesday that, with the exception of a damaged Unicracker unit, its Lake Charles, La., refinery has been returned to full operating capacity.
The 330,000 b/d refinery had been operating at a reduced rate since Sept. 21 when a fire occurred in the Unicracker, which produces turbine fuel (OGJ Online, Sept. 24, 2001).
Repairs to the unit are expected to be completed in mid-November. No serious injuries resulted from the fire.
Al Prebula, CITGO vice-president for the Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex, said, "Although none of the other refinery units were damaged, we brought those units back up slowly and deliberately to ensure the safety of our employees."
CITGO said an investigation determined the incident was caused by an internal detonation in the Unicracker hydrogen supply coalescer (filter system) as that coalescer was being brought back into service following a routine filter change. The incident ruptured a 6-in. gasoline line that served as the primary source of fuel for the fire.
CITGO of Tulsa, Okla., is owned by PDV America Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela SA.