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Motiva Port Arthur looks beyond 600,000 bpd-sources

Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:16pm GMT

* De-bottlenecking to boost capacity after project

* $5 billion expansion to be complete by Q1 ’12

By Erwin Seba

HOUSTON, June 13 (Reuters) – Motiva Enterprises LLC is already preparing to expand the capacity of its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery beyond 600,000 barrels per day (bpd), which the plant will reach early next year when a giant construction project is completed, according to refinery sources.

A Motiva spokeswoman declined to comment on the refinery’s long-term plans.

Motiva has also begun tying in units built in the past four years as part of that $5 billion capital project to boost the refinery’s capacity beyond the current 285,000 bpd, the sources said.

The additional increase in capacity is expected to come from improving the efficiency of the expanded refinery, the sources said.

“They’ll likely reach 650,000 with de-bottlenecking,” one of the sources said.

Another source said the expansion could even be larger. “Motiva Port Arthur will grow to between 650,000 and 700,000,” a source said.

One Gulf Coast refinery that completed an expansion in the past two years has already increased its capacity through de-bottlenecking.

In January Marathon Oil Corp (MRO.N: Quote) announced that its Garyville, Louisiana, refinery had reached 464,000 bpd, an increase of 28,000 bpd in the first year after finishing a capital project that added 209,000 bpd in 2009 to the plant’s refining capacity.

Motiva is currently linking units built during the expansion with the existing refinery. First to be connected is the refinery’s new power plant. Then a sulfur unit and a coking unit will be tied in. Last to be connected is a new crude distillation unit, the sources said.

In April, Motiva said the expansion will be mechanically complete by the end of 2011 with production beginning in the first quarter of 2012.

Motiva is a 50-50 joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L: Quote). Shell manages day-to-day operations.

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