BP starts up new crude unit at Whiting Refinery

BP has completed the commissioning and start-up of its new 250,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) 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 USD 1B of operating cash flow per year, depending on market conditions.”

Construction of the Whiting Refinery upgrade project is more than 95% 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 increase its heavy sour crude processing significantly to roughly 80% of its overall crude run.

Spencer also credited the 1,900 Whiting employees and large contractor workforce for safely reaching today’s important milestone in the project.