NorthAmOil: Chevron reportedly considers closing Pasadena refinery unit
Chevron is reported to be considering permanently shutting down the fluidic catalytic cracker (FCC) at its 112,229 barrel per day (bpd) refinery on the Houston Ship Channel in Pasadena, Texas. The move is being considered as part of a possible reconfiguration of the plant, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.
The 52,000 bpd FCC was shut on June 1 following a malfunction that took it out of operation. Chevron is now assessing whether it makes sense to repair the unit, one of the sources said. If the FCC is shut permanently, it would happen as part of a process to convert the refinery to a simpler hydroskimming configuration, according to the sources. They added that a decision on the unit’s future is expected this month.
A hydroskimming refinery usually consists of an atmospheric crude distillation unit (CDU), a reformer and a hydrotreater. According to the sources, idling the FCC could lead to closure of 40% of the units at the refinery.
Chevron acquired the refinery in 2019 from Brazil’s Petrobras for $350mn plus working capital. Comments from company executives show that the super-major was already considering a shift to hydroskimming for the facility prior to the FCC outage.
“We continue to test alternatives for capital-efficient ways to expand our light-tight oil processing capability,” Chevron’s executive vice president of downstream and chemicals, Mark Nelson, said in March during an investor day presentation in response to an analyst’s question about the Pasadena refinery. “We're leaning towards a hydroskimming focus in that regard,” Nelson said. “Again, a capital-efficient approach because we're in search of high returns.”
Last week, a Chevron spokesman, Tyler Kruzich, confirmed that the super-major was continuing to “test those alternatives”.