Exxonmobil Prepares Torrance for Restart

ExxonMobil has completed repairs to equipment damaged in an explosion last year and will next week seek restart approval at its 155,000 b/d refinery in Torrance, California.

The oil major has sought regulator approval for a start up process on its idled gasoline-producing fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit, a process which will violate air quality standards as it restores other repaired equipment to normal operations. The South Coast Air Quality Management District will hold a hearing on the proposed restart process 19 March.

An ExxonMobil representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

Torrance can supply up to 20pc of the region's gasoline demand. An 18 February, 2015 explosion during maintenance on a piece of FCC pollution control equipment called an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) crippled the refinery and roiled the California and western gasoline markets.

ExxonMobil plans to sell the refinery, once fully restored, to US independent refiner PBF Energy. PBF in January said the deal could close in May.

Market participants expect Torrance's return to shut off gasoline imports that surged last year but to not otherwise drag down prices for Carbob and other west coast refined products.

Restart work will violate local air quality restrictions because not all pollution control equipment will come up at the same time. ExxonMobil plans to start up the FCC first to dry out associated equipment and load catalysts. Start up on the repaired ESP equipment will follow.

Source: Argus Media
Date: Mar 7, 2016