Shell Oil Company reached a final investment decision to proceed with a $7-billion 325,000 barrel-per-day (b/d) capacity expansion project at its joint venture Motiva’s refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. The expansion project will increase the refinery’s crude oil throughput capacity to 600,000 b/d, making it the largest refinery in the US and one of the largest in the world.
The 325,000 b/d expansion at Port Arthur is equivalent to building the first new refinery in the US in more than 30 years. Motiva Enterprises LLC is a refining and marketing joint venture owned by Shell and Saudi Aramco.
The Port Arthur Refinery began operations as the Texas Company’s (Texaco) first refinery in 1903 and was a direct by-product of the January 10, 1901, Lucas gusher and the resulting Spindletop oil boom at Beaumont. In 1989, the refinery became part of Star Enterprise, a joint venture between Texaco and Saudi Aramco. The major refining process units include Atmospheric and Vacuum Crude Distillation, Fluid Catalytic Cracking, Resid Hydrocracking, Catalytic Reforming, Alkylation, Hydrotreating, Hydrogen Generation, and Sulfur Recovery.
Current production capacities are:
Crude: 275,000 b/d processed
Gasoline: 130,000 b/d, regular and premium grades
Jet-A aviation fuel: 42,000 b/d
Low sulfur diesel: 52,000 b/d
Fuel grade coke: 3,000 tons per day
Motiva’s expansion will lower most types of emissions from refinery operations on a per barrel basis by utilizing advanced technology in all new system installations and replacing existing systems, according to Shell. The expansion of the refinery will decrease emissions from present day levels for ozone precursors, specifically nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.
The Port Arthur area is a non-attainment area for air pollution. According to the most recent point source emissions inventory data published by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on the top point sources of emissions in the state, the Motiva Port Arthur refinery in 2005 emitted:
|Port Arthur Refinery Emissions Inventory 2005|
(tons per year)
Based on the data, the Port Arthur Refinery was the 35th largest point source of NOx emissions and the 13th largest point source of VOC in the state.