Vertex Energy’s Mobile refinery brings forward, wraps maintenance

Sept. 30, 2022
Vertex Energy accelerated planned maintenance activities at subsidiary Vertex Refining Alabama’s refining and petrochemical complex in Mobile, Ala., that will enable the site to meet increased seasonal demand for heating oil during fourth-quarter 2022.

Houston-based Vertex Energy Inc., a specialty refiner of alternative feedstocks, accelerated planned maintenance activities at subsidiary Vertex Refining Alabama LLC’s 75,000-b/d refining and petrochemical complex in Mobile, Ala., that will enable the site to meet increased seasonal demand for heating oil during fourth-quarter 2022.

Brought forward and completed during a period of recent and temporary reduced access to deliveries of waterborne crude feedstocks at the site, the accelerated major maintenance activities—previously scheduled for first-quarter 2023—involved work at one of the refinery’s crude distillation units, as well as catalyst changeouts at its distillate and reforming units, Vertex said on Sept. 29.

Alongside eliminating the need for downtime to complete maintenance in next year’s first quarter, the advanced turnaround event—which also included other unidentified minor works—helps to ensure enhanced yields and maximum throughputs at the refinery ahead of the winter rise in demand for heating oil, the operator said.

While external issues preventing a Vertex supplier's ability to fulfill its contracted supply mandate for waterborne crude deliveries to the refinery have since been resolved, Vertex confirmed the unplanned downtime during the feedstock curtailment period reduces the site’s previously estimated average crude throughputs for third-quarter 2022 to about 68,000-69,000 b/d.

In early August, the operator anticipated the Mobile refinery would average third-quarter 2022 throughputs of 72,000-74,000 b/d.

With all maintenance works safely completed on time and within budget, Vertex said it expects the refinery to reach its normal rates of operation by the first week of October.

Vertex is also scheduled to reach mechanical completion and production startup of a $90-100 million renewable diesel conversion project at the Mobile refinery by yearend 2022 and first-quarter 2023, respectively (OGJ Online, Sept. 12, 2022).