Dateline: Terry, Montana
May 10, 2013 – 6 pm MDT
By: Bob van der Valk
This is “The End” for any hope of gasoline prices on the West Coast, specifically Southern California, before Memorial Day. Today’s AAA Fuel Gauge for Los Angeles-Long Beach showed the average gasoline price already over $4 per gallon. The two major oil company refinery upsets in Southern California this afternoon will result in spike for gasoline prices starting on Monday with retail pump prices expected to hit $4.25 per gallon. The remainder of the West Coast including the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest gasoline prices will follow suit.
The CononoPhillips 76 refinery in Wilmington reported flaring this afternoon. Then the kicker came in the form of the ExxonMobiil refinery suffering a “power bump” putting their Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) unit out of business.
Because of it the ExxonMobill was flaring Friday afternoon at its 149,000 b/d refinery in Torrance, Calif., with the shut down of their FCC unit, which had been kept running while other units in the refinery were going through a planned turnaround. Now all of the units at this refinery are down.
The FCC is out of service and the refinery is flaring,
The refinery issued an unplanned flaring notification to the South Coast Air Quality Management this afternoon citing a breakdown. The flaring event began at 2 p.m. PDT and is expected to end before midnight.
ExxonMobil began a large-scale, multi-week turnaround May 3 on Torrance’s lone crude unit, an alkylation unit, a delayed coker unit, a sulfur recovery unit and a hydrotreater.
“Although we anticipate impact to production, ExxonMobil expects to be able to meet its contractual commitments,” a company spokesperson previously said about the planned maintenance.
The fluid catalytic cracker was not involved in the turnaround and had been operating via gasoil feed stored in railcars before a power glitch affected the unit.
Late Friday afternoon David Dumais, deputy fire chief of Torrance Fire Department, confirmed the following by phone.
* Upset occurred during maintenance turnaround,
*Refinery started turnaround this month on units including crude unit, alkylation unit, coker, hydrogen
plant on May 2, 2013.
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Feel free to contact me for updated information.
Bob van der Valk
Bakken Oil Business Journal