BP restarts crude unit at Whiting refinery

BP PLC has restarted the largest of three crude distillation units (CDUs) at its 413,000-b/d refinery in Whiting, Ind., following the unit’s unplanned shutdown in early August for unscheduled repair work (OGJ Online, Aug. 18, 2015).

The processing unit, which shut down on Aug. 8, has returned to service and has resumed production of fuel, BP said.

While restart of the unit is helping to increase the refinery’s overall fuel output, the 250,000-b/d CDU will continue to ramp up to its full processing capacity over time, BP said.

The company did not disclose an estimate of when the unit would return to planned processing rates.

The rest of the Whiting refinery remains in full operation at scheduled rates, and despite a still-reduced fuel production at the site, BP said it continues to meet its contractual fuel supply obligations to customers.

Following the CDU shutdown, US congressional representatives Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Fred Upton (R-Ind.) sent a letter to BP Chief Executive Robert Dudley asking for information pertaining to the unit’s sudden closure, which caused a sharp spike in gas prices throughout the upper Midwest.

Upton, who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Walorski, whose congressional district includes the refinery, specified an Aug. 21 deadline for Dudley to answer a series of questions regarding the outage.

As of Aug. 25, neither Upton nor Walorski have confirmed whether Dudley responded to the inquiries.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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