Kentucky refinery implements rail transport system

Continental Refining Co. has expanded logistics for receiving and distributing petroleum products to and from its 5,985-b/d refinery in Somerset, Ky., by implementing the use of railcars linked to the Somerset Rail Park in Ferguson, Ky., along the Norfolk-Southern Railroad lines.

Alongside enabling both receipt of crude oil to the refinery and delivery of petroleum products to customers more efficient, the use of rail-to-truck and truck-to-rail transloading via the rail park also will reduce overall inbound and outbound shipping costs for the company, Continental Refining said.

The refinery, which initiated the new intermodal transportation method on July 27, currently is using the system for delivery of gasoline-blending components as well as for delivery of transmix, a type of fuel produced when different fuels mix together in the fuel distribution system, the company said.

Part of the company’s initiative to further broaden its national distribution in reach and efficiency, the expanded logistics system is scheduled for continued growth into this year’s fourth quarter as the Somerset refinery increases its use of railcars to up to 10 cars/week, the independent refiner said.

Expansion of Somerset’s logistics system follows Continental Refining’s announcement earlier in the year that it will add a crude unit and hydrotreater as part of its strategy to increase production of low-sulfur fuels at the refinery (OGJ Online, Mar. 29, 2016).

While the crude unit will not alter the refinery’s overall nameplate crude-oil processing capacity, it will help to triple its ability to process transmix, which is a more difficult fuel to process than other types and cannot be sold without additional processing.

Intended to further equip the refinery to prevent transmix fuel mixtures from creating bottlenecks in the fuel distribution system, the new crude unit was due to be completed sometime during this year’s second quarter, the company said in March.

A proposed 3,500-b/d distillate hydrotreater designed to double the refinery’s current naphtha hydrotreating capacity for processing high-sulfur distillate and boosting production of ultralow-sulfur diesel is scheduled to be completed by yearend.

The Somerset refinery previously completed upgrades to receive transmix for production of finished low-sulfur marine diesel in 2014, at which time Continental Refining said it would invest $60 million through 2019 on additional upgrading projects at the plant.

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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