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Bloomberg: Motiva to Flare Chemicals During Restart at Texas Refinery

By Samantha Zee

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) — Motiva Enterprises LLC, a joint venture of Shell and Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, will flare chemicals for several days as it restarts the fluid catalytic cracking unit at its refinery in Port Arthur, Texas.

The unit was shut last week after Hurricane Humberto caused a power failure at the refinery. The unit’s waste heat boiler requires repairs because of damage during the storm, according to a report today on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Web site.

The unit’s regenerator will vent through the bypass stack, the Web site reported. Flaring began today at about 4:45 p.m. local time. Motiva estimates that it will flare at least 570 pounds of sulfur dioxide an hour, a waste product of a poison gas called hydrogen sulfide, through Sept. 29.

Sue Parsley, a spokeswoman for Houston-based Motiva, didn’t immediately return a telephone message seeking comment that was left at her office after hours. The refinery, located about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Houston, is capable of processing 285,000 barrels a day of crude oil.

Fluid catalytic cracking units are the heart of a refinery because they process so-called heavier oil-based products into lighter components for making gasoline and other fuels.

The plant is one of three refineries in the southeastern Texas coastal community idled Sept. 13 by Hurricane Humberto.

To contact the reporter on this story: Samantha Zee in Los Angeles at [email protected]

Last Updated: September 19, 2007 20:00 EDT

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