Engineering News

Conoco requests U.S. SPR crude for La. refinery
Tue Jun 27, 2006 5:11pm ET

NEW YORK, June 27 (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips has asked the U.S. Department of Energy for a 500,000 barrel crude oil loan from the national emergency reserve for its refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to make up for supplies delayed by a shipping disruption, the company said on Tuesday.

"In light of the continuing closure of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, ConocoPhillips has requested the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for permission to draw 500,000 barrels of crude oil for the Lake Charles refinery," said ConocoPhillips in a statement.

The Calcasieu Ship Channel near Lake Charles has been shut since a June 21 oil spill from Citgo Petroleum Corp.'s Lake Charles refinery, causing three refineries in the area to slow fuel production.

The U.S. Coast Guard said on Monday the channel, which connects the refining hub of Lake Charles with the Gulf of Mexico, could be shut for two to four days.

Aside from Conoco's 225,000 bpd plant, Calcasieu Refining Co.'s 85,000-bpd refinery nearby has cut its crude throughput to 22,000 bpd and Citgo said it reduced production at its 425,000-bpd refinery an unspecified, "slight amount."

The Energy Department on Tuesday declined to confirm or deny that ConocoPhillips had asked for the loan, citing its policy of only confirming loan approvals. Last week the DOE said it was ready to review any SPR loan requests.

In June 2000, a commercial dry dock collapsed into the Calcasieu Ship Channel and the Energy Department agreed to exchange 500,000 barrels with both Conoco and Citgo in return for an equivalent quantity, plus an exchange premium.

Citgo, the U.S. unit of Venezuela's state-owned PDVSA oil company, reiterated on Tuesday it did not expect to request SPR oil for its refinery.

The Coast Guard may send a ship through the channel on Wednesday to test the effect of traffic on the oil spill clean-up effort, an official said on Tuesday, but added there was still no firm estimate for reopening the waterway.

Source: Reuters

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