ExxonMobil’s Beaumont refinery due new unit

ExxonMobil Corp. will add a new unit designed to increase production of ultralow-sulfur fuels at its 345,000-b/d refinery in Beaumont, Tex.

Due to begin construction during this year’s second half, the project will involve installation of a 40,000-b/d selective cat-naphtha hydrofining unit (SCANfining) unit to produce gasoline that will meet the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 3 gasoline sulfur specifications, which take effect Jan. 1, 2017, ExxonMobil said.

To be ExxonMobil’s largest capital investment in more than a decade at Beaumont’s refining operations, the unit addition will improve product yield as well as help increase energy efficiency at the plant, said Fernando Salazar, manager of the Beaumont refinery.

Licensed by ExxonMobil, SCANfining hydroprocessing technology is a catalytic hydrodesulfurization process based on a proprietary catalyst system developed specifically for selective removal of sulfur from fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) naphtha that limits olefins hydrogenation to preserve octane content.

The SCANfining unit at Beaumont is scheduled for startup in 2018.

The company, however, did not disclose a cost estimate for the project.

Ongoing expansion

This latest project at Beaumont follows ExxonMobil’s 2015 announcement that it will expand the refinery’s capacity to accommodate increased processing of light crudes from US shale (OGJ Online, Aug. 12, 2015).

Intended to add capacity for advantaged domestic crudes as well as to improve overall energy efficiency at the complex, the proposed 20,000-b/d expansion is due to be commissioned sometime in 2017, the company told investors on May 25.

Alongside the Beaumont refinery’s crude unit expansion, ExxonMobil also is executing work to capture price-advantaged US crude supplies at its 500,000-b/d Baton Rouge, La., refinery, including projects to increase the plant’s ability to process a wider slate of feedstock, as well as improvements to midstream infrastructure at the site.

ExxonMobil plans to complete the feedstock and logistics flexibility projects at Baton Rouge by yearend.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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