Marathon commissions unit at Kentucky refinery

Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) has commissioned a 35,000-b/d condensate splitting unit at its 242,000-b/d Catlettsburg, Ky., refinery to boost the site’s capacity to process production from shale regions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia (OGJ Online, Nov. 26, 2013).

In addition to the splitter, the project also includes installation of condensate storage tanks and dock modifications to enable barge unloading at the refinery, MPC said in an e-mail to OGJ describing the project.

Condensate will be delivered to the refinery by barge via the Ohio and Big Sandy Rivers, the company said.

Along with the December 2014 commissioning of a 25,000-b/d splitter at its 90,000-b/d Canton, Ohio, refinery, start-up of the Catlettsburg splitter project is part of MPC’s overall efforts to increase processing capacity of condensate from Ohio’s Utica shale region, the company said.

Combined, the Catlettsburg and Canton splitter projects cost about $250 million.

Additional growth projects

MPC also continues to focus on leveraging its existing capacity to process more US light sweet production as well as boosting its output of diesel amid global growth in demand for the fuel, according to a June 2 investor presentation.

The company has invested $140 million in a project at its 212,000-b/d Robinson, Ill., refinery to increase the plant’s light crude processing capacity by 30,000 b/d and enable the site to run 100% light crude oil, MPC said.

While the light crude project at Robinson is due to be completed in 2016, a separate Robinson project, slated for completion this year, involves a revamp of the refinery’s distillate hydrocracker that would enable the processing of more feedstock at a lower conversion and shift about 5,000 b/d of light products to ultralow-sulfur diesel (ULSD) production, according to MPC’s most recent annual report to investors.

At its 451,000-b/d Galveston Bay refinery in Texas City, Tex., MPC said it expects to complete this year a hydrocracker project designed to increase the plant’s ULSD production by 9,000 b/d by shifting yields from gasoline.

At the 522,000-b/d Garyville, Ind., refinery, MPC completed a hydrocracker expansion during first-quarter 2014 that increased its hydrocracker capacity to 110,000 b/d, with another project to expand the site’s distillate hydrotreating capacity by 10,000 b/d due to be completed this year.

During 2014, MPC also worked on a front-end engineering and design study for a residual fuel hydrocracker project at the Garyville refinery that would equip the plant to upgrade residual fuel to ULSD and gas oil. Given the currently weaker price environment, however, the company said it has deferred final investment decision on this project, which it estimates would cost $2.2-2.5 billion.

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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