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Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE: MPC) began restarting its 585,000 bpd refining complex in Galveston Bay that has been shuttered for more than a month now, according to Reuters sources.
The complex—America’s second-largest refinery after Motiva--was shut on May 23rd as part of a massive overhaul.
Marathon did not confirm the plans to restart, but the sources indicate that its 225,000 bpd Pipestill 3B crude distillation unit will be back in production sometime early next week. Pipestill 3B is one of two units tasked with breaking down crude oil into feedstocks for the remaining production units, which are also shuttered.
Some of those units, according to the sources, are expected to be back up by the end of this month.
The refinery overhaul was supposed to take place in March, but Marathon pushed back the work in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by the large number of contract workers that the work would require.
The refinery is capable of producing gasoline, distillates, aromatics, heavy fuel oil, dry gas, fuel-grade coke, propylene, and sulfur, according to Marathon’s website.
Marathon’s Galveston Bay refinery has been rocked with cases of the coronavirus, infecting as many as 100 workers so far, Reuters sources said yesterday, most of which were the contract workers tasked with this overhaul.
Marathon Petroleum Corp’s stock was trading up nearly 9% on Friday.
Marathon’s refinery is coming online as a unit of Shell’s Deer Park refinery in Texas is shutting due to the demand crash. Shell announced on Friday it would close its sulfur recovery unit of the 318,000 bpd complex for months. The refinery has been operating at just 75% of its total capacity. Shell’s Deer Park refinery has had 50 reported cases of the virus.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.