Engineering News

ConocoPhillips Sees Heavy Q1 Refinery Work
January 28, 2009

ConocoPhillips said on Wednesday it sees a heavy schedule for planned maintenance at its refineries in the first quarter of 2009.

In its fourth-quarter 2008 earnings conference call with analysts, ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva said the plants are down now and are expected to be down for 30 to 40 days.

ConocoPhillips, like many of the large U.S. refiners, does not comment on planned maintenance at its refineries. But according to the U.S. government refinery outage report released in December 2008, the company was planning on doing planned work on the 145,000 bpd gasoline-making catalytic cracking unit at its 238,000 barrel-per-day Bayway refinery in Linden, New Jersey, in February.

Trade sources and regulatory filings show that the unit went down for repair at the end of January. Traders said they expect the work to take 45 days and last until mid-March.

ConocoPhillips said that it expected refinery utilization rates to be lower in the first quarter of 2009, in the "low 80 percent" range.

Trade sources said that ConocoPhillips' 247,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Sweeny, Texas, began a major 45-day turnaround on the coking unit, the crude unit and a hydrotreater in late January.

In an effort to control spending, ConocoPhillips said it would cut back by deferring upgrades at some refineries but declined to specify which ones.

Previously, the company had announced upgrades at its three California refineries as well as its Billings, Montana, refinery. Last March, the company said it would upgrade its simple refinery in Wilhelmshaven, Germany by adding hydrocracking and coking units.

Source: AFX News Limited

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