Processing news briefs, Sept. 4

Ultramar Diamond Shamrock � Tosco � Syncrude Canada � GE Plastics � Jacobs Engineering � Sargeant Bulktainers � American International Petroleum Corp. ... Sunoco ... Syntroleum

Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp., San Antonio, has completed the purchase of Tosco Corp.'s 168,000 b/d Avon refinery in the San Francisco Bay area (OGJ Online, July 6, 2000). UDS acquired the refinery, including about 800,000 bbl of base inventory, for $650 million. The company also purchased additional inventory from Tosco and plans to operate with working capital of about $70 million going forward.

Syncrude Canada Ltd. has announced that a maintenance turnaround on a coker will commence in mid-September. At that time, the coker will have been operating for 760 consecutive days, during which time it processed more than 80 million bbl of bitumen. This turnaround will be completed by the end of October. As a result of the maintenance turnaround being moved forward from a planned first quarter 2001 date, Syncrude has revised its 2000 production forecast to 79 million bbl, down from the previous forecast range of 82-85 million bbl.

GE Plastics, a unit of General Electric Co., has awarded Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. a contract to expand its polycarbonate facility in Burkville, Ala. The contract scope covers the basic and detail engineering and procurement phases of this $185 million expansion. The Burkville expansion is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2001.

Sargeant Bulktainers, a unit of the Sargeant Group, signed a letter of intent with American International Petroleum Corp. under which AIPC unit American International Refinery Inc. will refine Sargeant's crude oil at its Lake Charles, La., facility for a fee. Sargeant and AIPC also signed a letter of intent providing for a newly formed subsidiary of AIPC to purchase the refined products from Sargeant. The letters of intent call for concluding both the processing and purchase agreements this month.

Sunoco Inc.> said that, at about 11:20 a.m. Aug. 31, it experienced an emergency shutdown of the 93,000 b/d FCC unit at its Marcus Hook refinery in Pennsylvania. Company emergency personnel responded immediately and the unit was quickly put into a safe condition and shut down. The shutdown was a result of an electrical malfunction, said Sunoco. The firm said late last week it was taking measures to correct the cause of the shutdown and to prepare the unit for restart. It expected the start up to take place over the Labor Day weekend. A detailed investigation into the cause of the incident is being conducted.

Syntroleum Corp., Tulsa, has created a new, publicly accessible website that contains historical documents on Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) synthetic fuels technology that previously could not be retrieved using electronic media. "More ready access to this information should help facilitate research and development of synthetic fuels technologies and ultimately the availability of cleaner, more abundant fuel supplies," said Syntroleum. "It will also provide easier and broader reference to prior art in connection with patent research." This collection of historical F-T data has been gathered largely by Anthony Stranges, a chemist and professor of history at Texas A&M University, with a special focus on the history of synthetic fuels. Stranges is continuing to translate and index this body of knowledge. Syntroleum is providing resources to convert the data archives from hard-copy format into searchable electronic form, thus enabling them to be available on the worldwide web at

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