updated: 7/3/2013 1:53:10 PM
BP PLC (NYSE:BP) has completed a major phase of the massive upgrade to its Whiting refinery. The company says it has started a crude distillation unit and "more than 95 percent" of the nearly $4 billion construction project is finished. The upgrade will allow the plant to process more "heavy sour" crude oil, which is common in countries such as Canada.
BP employs an estimated 1,800 in the Lake County city.
July 1, 2013
WHITING, Ind. - BP announced today that it has completed commissioning and start-up of its new 250,000 barrel-per-day crude distillation unit at the Whiting Refinery, marking a major milestone in the multi-billion dollar upgrade of the facility in Northwest Indiana.
"The safe start-up of this large, sophisticated crude processing unit at the Whiting Refinery has returned the refinery to its nameplate processing capability of 413,000 barrels per day -- initially of mostly light, sweet crude -- and paved the way for the remaining upgrades to the plant to be brought on-line," said Iain Conn, chief executive of BP's refining and marketing segment. "When the new coking and hydrotreating units are commissioned and operating at full rates in the second half of this year, the reconfigured refinery will have the flexibility to greatly increase heavy, sour crude processing, delivering an expected incremental $1 billion of operating cash flow per year, depending on market conditions."
Construction of the Whiting Refinery upgrade project is more than 95 percent complete. BP expects to commission a new 105,000 barrel-per-day gasoil hydrotreater, a large 102,000 barrel-per-day coker and other associated units in the second half of 2013. When all of the new equipment is in full operation, the refinery will have the ability to significantly increase heavy, sour crude processing to roughly 80 percent of its overall crude run.
"The Whiting Refinery project is at the heart of our U.S. fuels strategy to operate sophisticated, feedstock-advantaged refineries tied to strong logistics and fuels markets," Conn added. "This world class refinery is in the right location and will soon be running the right equipment to process growing supplies of North American crude oil, including oil from Canada."
The multi-billion dollar investment in the refinery is the largest private sector investment in Indiana history and also includes several hundred million dollars in state-of-the-art environmental controls for water treatment and air emissions, according to Whiting Refinery manager Nick Spencer.
"Our investment in Whiting's future shows BP's commitment to creating jobs in America and safely providing energy," Spencer said.
Spencer also credited the 1,900 Whiting employees and large contractor workforce for safely reaching today's important milestone in the project.
"We've employed more than 10,000 skilled craftspeople here at Whiting the past few years preparing for this important moment," Spencer added. "We've focused on safe execution and earlier this year logged more than 40 million man-hours without an injury resulting in a day away from work. Our focus now is to continue this standard of safety performance through to the completion of the project later this year and for years to come."
About BP in the US:
BP has invested more in the United States over the last five years than any other oil and gas company. With more than $55 billion in capital spending between 2008 and 2012, BP invests more in the U.S. than in any other country. The company is the nation's second largest producer of oil and gas, a major oil refiner and a leader in alternative energy sources. With 20,000 U.S. employees, BP supports nearly a quarter of a million domestic jobs through its business activities. For more information, visit www.bp.com.
As BP's largest U.S. refinery, the Whiting facility provides the Midwest and other parts of the U.S. with enough fuel every day to run 430,000 cars, 22,000 commercial trucks, 2,000 commercial jet liners, 10,000 tractors and fill 350,000 propane tanks.
BP has recently completed a number of major investments in its other U.S. refineries, including a clean-diesel upgrading project at its 234,000 barrels per day Cherry Point, Washington refinery; and the addition of a continuous catalytic reformer to the 160,000 barrels per day Toledo, Ohio, refinery (a 50:50 joint venture with partner Husky Energy Inc.).
Source: BP PLC