Power loss shutters unit, cuts rates at Houston refinery

Houston Refining LP, a wholly owned subsidiary of LyondellBasell Industries NV, experienced a localized power loss on Aug. 9 that forced the unplanned shutdown of a sulfur recovery unit and led to reduced processing rates throughout its 268,000-b/d refinery along the Houston Ship Channel.

The power outage, which occurred at 1:50 p.m. Houston local time, resulted in the shutdown of the refinery’s sulfur recovery complex (SRC) and required the operator to enact emergency rate reductions across the plant that left all units operating at minimum throughput rates, Houston Refining said in an air-emission event report filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

As a result of the power interruption, the company routed acid gas from the shuttered SRC to the refinery’s No. 2 Plant Flare to minimize levels of harmful substances released into the atmosphere during a flaring event that lasted from the time of the initial power loss until 1:56 a.m. local time on Aug. 10, according to the TCEQ report.

By the end of emissions event, the refinery had released 592,500 lb of sulfur dioxide and 6,400 lb of hydrogen sulfide, the report said.

The company has yet to officially release any details regarding the current status operations at the refinery in the wake of the incident.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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