Fire shutters hydrocracker at Motiva’s Convent refinery

Houston-based Motiva Enterprises LLC is investigating a fire that broke out in a processing unit at its 227,000-b/cd Convent refinery in St. James Parish, La.

The fire, which occurred at about 10:50 a.m. on Aug. 11 in the refinery’s resid hydrocracker, or H-Oil unit, was contained and extinguished by emergency response teams, with no injuries or off-site impacts occurring as a result of the incident, Motiva said.

No other units at the refinery were impacted by the fire, and save for the H-Oil unit, all units continue to operate.

A cause of the fire remains under investigation, the company said.

Motiva, the soon-to-be-dissolved refining and marketing joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, did not disclose details regarding the extent of damage to the H-Oil unit, or a possible timeframe for its repair (OGJ Online, Mar. 16, 2016).

Installed to enable the 227,000-b/cd refinery to process increased volumes of vacuum residuum available in its feedstock of Arab crudes, Convent’s H-Oil unit has a processing capacity of 45,000 b/cd, according to Shell’s latest investor’s handbook, which reports operating data as of Mar. 31.

Released in June, the US Energy Information Administration’s annual Refinery Capacity Report, however, shows the Convent refinery operating as of Jan. 1 with an overall crude processing capacity of 235,000 b/cd and a residual hydrocracking capacity of 52,000 b/sd (about 46,800 b/cd).

Shell, which will own and operate Motiva’s Convent refinery as well as the 229,000-b/cd Norco refinery in St. Charles Parish, La., following the split with Aramco, has yet to confirm an official timeline for the partners’ previously announced plan to integrate the two manufacturing sites into a single refining system (OGJ Online, Mar. 26, 2015).

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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