Commissioned in 1901 and accessible to the Texas Gulf Coast, Valero Energy Corp.'s Port Arthur Refinery is located approximately 90 miles east of Houston. Valero in 2005 acquired the facility, which offers easy access to Gulf Coast waterborne crude oil via refinery docks or through terminals in Nederland, Texas. Products are shipped through the Colonial, Explorer, and Teppco pipelines.
Boasting a Nelson Complexity Rating of 11.6, the Port Arthur Refinery processes heavy, sour crude oil. In 2001, a new delayed coker and hydrocracker were installed to give the refinery this capability. More recently, the coker was expanded from 85,000 to 105,000 b/d. Valero said that it has a contract for 206,000 b/d of Maya crude oil through 2011.
According to Valero, the major refinery units are as follows: 325,000-b/d crude unit; 77,000-b/d fluid catalytic cracking unit; 105,000-b/d coker unit; 51,000-b/d catalytic reformer; and a 45,000-b/d hydrocracker. The refinery can process approximately 325,000 b/d of crude into the following products: conventional, premium, and reformulated gasoline before oxygenate blending; diesel; jet fuel, petroleum coke; and sulfur.
Valero in February 2008 announced a $2.4 billion project to expand the refinery's overall throughput to 415,000 b/d. The plant-wide turnaround entails the following: replacing six drums on the existing coker; building 50,000-bpd hydrocracker; building a 45,000-bpd coker; and revamping and expanding numerous other units.
The company expects the enhancements to boost the refinery's ultra low sulfur diesel production by 54,000 b/d and gasoline production by 7,000 b/d. In addition, the project will require 2,000 workers when construction reaches its peak and should create more than 30 permanent jobs.
In August 2008, Technip announced that it had been awarded an engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) contract for part of the expansion. Technip's scope of work includes the following: two processing units, including a saturate gas recovery unit and an amine treatment unit, and offsites associated with the expansion of the refinery.
In June 2009, Valero announced the project will be on hold indefinitely after the company announced plans to acquire a 45% interest in a Dutch refinery. According to a Valero spokesman, engineering work had been completed and equipment had been ordered. The equipment will be placed in storage until the expansion is rescheduled.