UPDATE 2-Fire-hit Chevron Calif crude unit seen shut 6 mths-IIR

Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:28pm IST

Related Topics

Stocks

   

* CDU may be shut 4-6 mths after extensive damage-IIR Energy

* Refinery sources last week expected 3 month shutdown

* Chevron gives no timeline, says other units operating

NEW YORK, Aug 13 (Reuters) - The sole crude distillation unit at Chevron Corp's large Richmond, California, refinery may be shut for at least four to six months after last week's fire, industry intelligence group IIR Energy said in a report that suggests the outage may be twice as long as feared.

Investigators have found "extensive damage" in the cooling towers, pipe racks and heater tower, IIR Energy told clients on Friday.

Neither Chevron nor investigators have given any timeline for resuming full operations at the 245,000-barrel-per-day plant, California's second largest, following an Aug. 6 fire at its crude unit that caused a spike in regional gasoline prices.

A Chevron spokesman on Monday reiterated only that the No. 4 crude oil unit -- the only one at the plant -- was still shut down while other parts of the plant were operating.

Sources at the refinery said last week the unit could be shuttered for up to three months. The fire erupted at a pump leaking a substance similar to diesel, according to a preliminary report the company filed with county pollution regulators last week.

IIR Energy, which employees hundreds of researchers to gather operational information, first hand, about industrial facilities across the world, said that Chevron had not yet decided whether it would continue to operate some secondary units that are running down on-hand feedstock inventories.

Chevron could buy intermediate feed from the market, although in most cases it is difficult for a refiner that has shut down its crude unit to secure enough of this type of oil to keep producing motor fuels at the same rate. Last week, the plant was producing gasoline at over 50 percent capacity, sources said.

The fire damaged the only atmospheric tower on the CDU, the unit that begins converting crude oil to motor fuel. The CDU makes feedstock for all other units at the refinery.

The blaze, which broke out as workers and the refinery's fire department were evaluating a leak at the pump, sent 949 area residents to an area hospital complaining of respiratory problems and eye irritation among other symptoms.

FILED UNDER:

Religion and Politics

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Fund Raising

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

To Boost Growth

To Boost Growth

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.   Full Article 

Bold Steps

Bold Steps

SpiceJet rescue plan marks bold bet on Indian aviation recovery.   Full Article 

New Airline

New Airline

Tata, Singapore Air venture Vistara to take off on Jan 9.  Full Article 

Online Sales

Online Sales

Knock knock. Who's there? Amazon's best-selling holiday author.  Full Article 

Hacking Attack

Hacking Attack

N.Korea says did not hack Sony, wants joint probe with U.S.  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

BSE Sensex to hit 32,980 by December 2015  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage