Bloomberg News

Motiva Port Arthur Said to Halt Crude Unit Start as Clamp Fails

January 07, 2013

Motiva Enterprises LLC shut down the 325,000-barrel-a-day crude unit at the Port Arthur refinery days after trying to restart it when a clamp that was modified to fix an earlier leak failed, a person familiar with the situation said.

The unit was put on circulation at about 5 p.m. local time yesterday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak for the company. There is no timeline for another restart. When on circulation, the unit is kept running but no oil is processed.

The crude unit has been idled since a Dec. 11 fire that was caused by a leak on the unit’s heater outlet. A second fire broke out Dec. 17 during an earlier attempted restart. The company attempted the most recent restart Jan. 3. Workers had modified a clamp to stop the original leak, and it would not hold, the person said.

Kimberly Windon, a Houston-based spokeswoman for the refinery, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. She said in an e-mail on Dec. 28 that the refinery was “targeting an early 2013 full restart.”

The crude unit, the largest of three at Port Arthur, shut for repairs several days after its May debut. It’s a key part of a $10 billion expansion that will almost double the plant’s processing capacity to 600,000 barrels a day. At full rates, the refinery would be able to make 240,000 barrels a day of gasoline and 190,000 barrels of diesel, according to the company.

Motiva is a refining and marketing joint venture of Saudi Refining Inc., a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., and Shell Oil Co., a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. (RDSA)

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Murtaugh in Houston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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