HOUSTON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) may begin resuming production at its 325,700-barrel-per-day (bpd) joint-venture Deer Park, Texas, refinery as early as Friday, sources familiar with plant operations said on Thursday.
Shell plans to begin putting crude oil into the 270,000-bpd DU-2 crude distillation unit, the larger of two at the plant, as early as Friday, the sources said. The refinery was shut on Aug. 27 by Tropical Storm Harvey.
A Shell spokesman wasn’t immediately available to comment.
Other production units will come on-line after DU-2 successfully resumes production, according to the sources.
Shell began restarting DU-2 on Monday night and was stalled for part of the week by the outage of a 650-pound (295-kilogram) steam line to the unit.
After crude oil is introduced, Shell will start to test the products coming from DU-2 to see if they meet specifications.
After bringing DU-2’s production within specification, the refinery will begin restarting other production units like the 70,000-bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit.
The 45,900-bpd CR-3 reformer was not expected to be ready to restart over the weekend, the sources said.
Reformers convert low-octane refining by-products into high-octane gasoline blending components.
Shell was preparing to restart DU-2 following repairs from an Aug. 17 fire when Harvey hit the Houston area on Aug. 27.
The Deer Park refinery is a 50-50 joint venture between Shell and Petroleos Mexicanos , Mexico’s national oil company.
Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Sandra Maler