orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

December 10, 2012

Motiva to begin restart process for early 2013

PORT ARTHUR — Repairs on thousands of corroded pipeline at Motiva Port Arthur Refinery have been completed and the reins have been handed over to operation engineers to begin the re-start process, said Kimberly Windon, a spokesperson for Shell Oil Co.

“The re-start can take a while, which is why we’re expecting to be fully operational by early 2013,” Windon said.

According to previous reporting, a leak was discovered by a worker in June, which led to the facility’s control center and inspectors finding the corroded pipeline. Refinery officials said that the damage was the result of a design flaw.

A number of contractors were brought into the facility to assist with damages and many of them were local, Windon said.

“As part of our procurement policies, Motiva continuously seeks opportunties to utilize the services of qualified local businesses,” Verna Rutherford, media spokesperson for Motiva, said in an email. “Several local contractors were involved in the repairs to the crude distillation unit.”

More than 300 Motiva employees have been hired over the course of four years to be trained to properly operate units and handle other responsibilities at the refinery, Rutherford said.

“Employees who were hired to run the expanded units are essential to current and future operations,” she said.

In November, Steve Rathweg, vice president of manufacturing for Motiva/Shell, said that the discovery of Motiva’s corroded pipelines was a learning experience that led the company to check sister facilities around the world for similar issues.

The Crude Expansion Project was completed in May, Rutherford said. “This other unit issue is a separate situation and happened after the expansion project was completed.”

The rest of the refinery  remained operational while the unit was being repaired. According to previous reports, 325,000 barrels of oil were lost from the unit per day.

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