Holly snuffs tank fire; shuts Tulsa crude unit

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Apr. 26
-- Holly Corp., Dallas, said it has shut down the crude unit at the west facility of its Tulsa, Okla., refinery due to a mechanical failure that was discovered on Apr. 22.

Unit shutdown, effecting repairs, and restarting the unit would each take several days, a spokesman estimated on Apr. 26.

Crude throughput was expected to be reduced 50% from runs of 110,000-120,000 b/d at the time of the shutdown, Holly said.

A slop and water storage tank at the east facility caught fire Apr. 22 amid several days of thunderstorms and lightning. The fire was extinguished that evening. No injuries were reported. Holly is investigating the causes of both incidents, starting by pumping rainwater from containment dikes.

Holly purchased what it calls the west and east facilities, the former separate Sunoco and Sinclair refineries, respectively, a little more than a mile apart along the Arkansas River in 2009. It planned to connect them by pipelines into a single facility to be operated at a capacity of 125,000 b/sd.

Holly’s 2010 annual report said it would integrate the plants “primarily by sending intermediate streams from one facility to the other for further processing.”

High-sulfur diesel and various gas oil streams will be sent from the west facility to be processed in the diesel hydrotreater and fluid catalytic cracking units, respectively, at the east facility. Hydrogen and fuel gas will be shared between the two facilities upon completion of additional interconnect pipelines.

Various heavy oil streams are sent from the east facility to be processed in the coker unit at the west facility, and the majority of the naphtha from the west facility is processed at the east facility and is delivered along with gas oils via an existing interconnect line under an existing 10-year agreement.

The company said the new interconnect lines will allow it to eliminate the sale of gas oil at a discount to West Texas Intermediate crude under its 5-year gas oil offtake agreement with a third party, optimize gasoline blending, increase utilization of better process technology, improve yields, and reduce operating costs.

Five more connecting pipelines along with piping inside the two facilities are under construction and somewhat impeded by persistent winter and spring storms.

The company is also expanding the diesel hydrotreater at the east facility at a cost of $20 million to permit the processing of all high sulfur diesel produced to ultralow-sulfur diesel. Other work is in progress to meet federal environmental regulations.

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