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Shell Restarts Louisiana Refinery After Last Week’s Fire


Royal Dutch Shell restarted over the weekend all but one units of its 227,586-bpd Convent refinery in Louisiana, sources told Reuters on Monday, after the facility was shut down last Tuesday following a fire at a substation.

A Shell-owned transformer exploded and caused an electrical fire at a substation near the Convent plant on Tuesday night, St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office told WAFB news channel. The transformer explosion caused the plant to lose power.

“Shell’s Convent Refinery experienced an electrical fire September 26 at approximately 8 p.m. The fire caused a power interruption at the site. Shell initiated its emergency response plan, which included immediately deploying personnel to respond to the incident. All site personnel have been accounted for and there were no injuries associated with this incident. The community will notice elevated flaring during this process. All appropriate agencies were notified,” WAFB quoted the plant officials as saying in a press release at the time of the incident.   

Now, according to sources familiar with the plant’s operations who spoke to Reuters, the refinery has restarted all units except for the 45,000-bpd heavy-oil hydrocracker, which is expected to begin production at half capacity by the end of the week. The other half will undergo a previously planned overhaul that will last one month. 

Related: The Next Big Offshore Boom Is About To Happen Here

Shell became the sole owner of the Convent refinery earlier this year after it completed the transaction for the separation of assets, liabilities, and businesses of Motiva Enterprises LLC with Saudi Aramco. Under that deal, Aramco got hold of the biggest refinery in the U.S., Port Arthur in Texas, while Shell received the Norco and Convent refineries in Louisiana.

In August last year, the Convent refinery was again the site of a fire, in which no injuries were reported. In March this year, another fire broke out at the same facility, while the heavy oil hydrocracker was being restarted to full production for the first time since the August blaze, according to sources familiar with the operations who spoke to Reuters at the time.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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