Chesterton Tribune

 

 

BP says Whiting refinery construction completed

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WHITING, Ind. (AP) Oil company BP says it has completed construction work on a $4.2 billion expansion and upgrade of its northwestern Indiana refinery.

The company said that completion has allowed it to start up a 102,000-barrel-per-day unit that will be used as the Whiting refinery starts processing more crude oil from the Canadian tar sands region. The new coker unit converts residual crude oil into gas oils that are used in gasoline and into petroleum coke that is used in overseas energy production, The Times of Munster reported.

Work began in 2008 on the project and converted the refinery along Lake Michigan so it could process the heavier crude oils coming from the Dakotas and Canada, where production has been booming.

"The safe startup of this world-scale coker is the last major step in unlocking the full potential of the Whiting refinery for our shareholders," said Iain Conn, chief executive of BP's refining division.

Company spokesman Scott Dean said that crews are doing troubleshooting at the 1,900-worker refinery, with its processing of the heavier oils ramping up through the first three months of next year.

BP's plans angered environmentalists because a state environmental permit was going to allow the refinery to increase discharges into Lake Michigan of ammonia and pollution called suspended solids. BP later announced that it would find ways to keep the expanded refinery's discharges to the limits set under its previous permits.

The $4.2 billion project included several hundred million dollars in state-of-the-art environmental equipment for water treatment and air emissions, refinery manager Nick Spencer said. About $400 million in federally mandated pollution controls added to the original $3.8 billion price tag for the project, which had as many as 14,000 construction workers at the site.

"Our investment in Whiting's future shows BP's commitment to safely providing energy and jobs in America," Spencer said.

 

 

Posted 12/19/2013