Engineering News

Valero: St. Charles, Corpus FCCs Down Indefinitely
January 02, 2009

Valero Energy Corp, the largest U.S. refiner, said on Wednesday that downed fluid catalytic cracker units at its refineries in St. Charles, Louisiana, and Corpus Christi, Texas, will be out indefinitely.

"Both are still down; St Charles is down for repairs and the Corpus Christi FCC is down for economic reasons," Valero spokesman Bill Day told Reuters.

The 100,000-barrel-per-day FCC at St. Charles was shut mid-December for repairs and the 20,000-bpd gasoline-making unit at the east plant of the Corpus Christi refinery was brought down early this month.

Valero will continue to run FCC units at seven other refineries in the United States at reduced rates due to weak gasoline margins, the spokesman added.

"It's still status quo there, we have not issued any updates on these FCCs," Day told Reuters.

The seven refineries are Wilmington and Benicia in California; McKee, Port Arthur, Corpus Christi West Plant and Three Rivers in Texas, as well as Delaware City in Delaware, he added.

Earlier this month, Valero said it will run FCC units systemwide at 70 to 75 percent of capacity in December due to the weak gasoline margins.

Margins for the motor fuel have improved recently. The February RBOB gasoline crack spread stood at plus $1.02 per barrel early Wednesday before moving back slightly into the red, compared with levels as deep as minus $16 this fall.

Earlier on Wednesday, Day said Valero restarted a 55,000-bpd FCC at its refinery in Paulsboro, New Jersey, after an extended outage for repairs.

The FCC at Paulsboro was shut in the first week of December for the work but in mid-December Day said Valero will extend outages of FCCs at Paulsboro and other refineries and run other FCCs are lower rates until gasoline margins improve.

Source: AFX News Limited

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