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Refinery news roundup: North American refineries recover from extreme cold snags

  • Commodity Oil

New York — Extreme cold temperatures that blanketed much of the US and Canada last week are departing, and the refinery hiccups caused by such temperatures appear to be abating.

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Icy conditions in the Delaware Bay are clearing as the weather warms, but it is taking time, according to the US Coast Guard.

Between two and four inches of ice covers between 80% and 90% on the Schuykill River at Point Breeze and Girard Point, the USCG said in a Tuesday ice report, creating navigational difficulties for crude moving into Philadelphia Energy Solution's 335,000 b/d refinery.

The refinery, the largest on the USAC, began planned work on two units earlier this week, according to a filing by the Philadelphia Department of Health. The filing did not detail what units were being worked on, but traders said it was the reformer and a crude distillation unit.

PBF is planning work on a crude unit at its 182,800 b/d Delaware City, Delaware, refinery later this spring, according to a source familiar with refinery operations, but the dates have not yet been firmed up.

Long-awaited work will begin next week to modernize the 145,000 b/d gasoline-making fluid catalytic cracking unit at Phillips 66's 238,000 b/d Bayway refinery, a source familiar with refinery operations said.

Demolition of the Goethals Bridge begins this weekend, and vessel traffic into the plant will be restricted at some times, the USCG said. The bridge connects New Jersey with Staten Island.

US Gulf Coast refiners also suffered from colder-than-normal temperatures, with Marathon's Galveston Bay and ExxonMobil's Beaumont facilities reporting cold weather hitches.

Even in the Midwest, refineries reported cold weather having an impact on production. Citgo Lemont and the Wood River refinery both reporting operating issues as the temperatures dropped below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.