Wednesday, October 20

Phillips 66 plans to repair, restart storm-damaged Louisiana refinery -sources

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HOUSTON — US refiner Phillips 66 plans to repair and restart its 255,600 barrel-per-day (bpd) Alliance, Louisiana, refinery, which was damaged in August by Hurricane Ida, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Two top refining executives from the company’s Houston headquarters visited the refinery last week to tell employees of the plans, the people said.

The company does not plan to rush repairs, the employees were told, but will proceed with repairs at a steady pace in tune with refining economics and the availability of material and equipment needed, the sources said.

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Phillips 66 spokesman Bernardo Fallas said the company did not have a statement immediately available.

The company has said publicly it plans to repair and restart the refinery. But, efforts to market the refinery, which Phillips 66 announced on Aug. 24, and a costly repair combined with interest from non-refiners like Hilcorp has led to widespread speculation Alliance will never reopen as a crude oil refinery.

Phillips 66 brought back most the refinery’s employees last week to begin clean-up of the plant as most of the floodwater had been pumped out of the refinery.

The refinery continues to struggle with reduced power for temporary pumps to remove water from the plant. At least one day this week heavy rains overwhelmed temporary pumps, forcing the company to send employees home before noon.

During Ida, the refinery’s floodwall was breached by debris from outside the plant, allowing water to flow in.

Control rooms were flooded throughout the refinery, pushing in debris. Mold has since formed on and underneath surfaces throughout the structures, according to the sources.

The refinery, located in Plaquemines Parish, along the Mississippi River has an elevation of seven feet (2.1 m).

Sources have told Reuters repairs may take seven months from the Aug. 28 shutdown to complete.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Leslie Adler and Marguerita Choy)

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