Phillips 66 considers splitter at Sweeny refinery

Phillips 66 is evaluating the potential for the addition of a condensate splitter near its 247,000-b/d Sweeny refinery in Old Ocean, Tex., just southwest of Houston.

The company has begun preliminary engineering and economic analysis for a condensate splitter and a second fractionator in the Sweeny area, Phillips 66 spokesman Dennis Nuss told OGJ.

“We anticipate a strong need in the NGL market over the next several years and will pursue opportunities that fit with our strategy to grow our midstream business,” Nuss said.

But with discussions regarding these projects still in the very early stages, a timeline for the projects has yet to be established, according to Nuss.

Phillip 66’s potential plans to add additional splitting and fractionating capabilities to expand midstream growth come as US Gulf Coast operators—which are mostly configured to run heavier, sour crude slates—seek to maximize profits and minimize losses from processing light tight oil (LTO) from surging North American shale production.

The next project aimed at LTO processing due for commissioning is Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP’s $360 million Galena Park, Tex., condensate splitter on the Houston Ship Channel, in which BP PLC has a long-term, fee-based agreement for nearly all the plant’s 100,000-b/d throughput capacity (OGJ Online, Jan. 14, 2013; July 19, 2012).

The first phase of the splitter is scheduled to be commissioned in June, while a second phase is scheduled to come on line in second-quarter 2015, according to KMEP’s 2013 annual report.

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