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Motiva Shuts Down Texas Refinery Expansion Unit Due to Leak

By Dow Jones Business News,  January 07, 2013, 01:19:00 PM EDT

By Alison Sider

Motiva Enterprises LLC said the crude unit of its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery expansion leaked while being restarted Sunday and was shut down.

Kimberly Windon, spokeswoman for Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA), said the company still plans to have the VPS 5 crude distillation unit fully restarted “in the early part of this year.”

“We anticipate making the necessary adjustments/repairs and returning the unit to normal operation in an expeditious manner,” Ms. Windon wrote in an email Monday.

The Motiva refinery is jointly owned by Shell and Saudi Arabian Oil Co. The new crude unit is the culmination of a $10 billion expansion project that added 325,000 barrels a day of capacity and made the refinery one of the largest in the world.

The new crude unit, first commissioned in May, recently experienced several setbacks. Last month the company began the process of bringing the unit back online after six months of repairs but was stymied by a small mechanical fire and then by evidence of another leak, sources said at the time. Last week the sources familiar with the refinery’s operations said the crude unit was in restart mode for the third time in 30 days.

Write to Alison Sider at [email protected]

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