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HollyFrontier wraps extended Kansas refinery maintenance

HollyFrontier Corp., Dallas, has completed a 3-month planned maintenance turnaround at its 135,000-b/d El Dorado, Kan., refinery following extended repairs required on one of the plant’s processing units.

Planned maintenance extended 10 days longer than initially scheduled amid the discovery of significant mechanical repairs required at the refinery’s gas oil hydrotreater, the company said.

The extended maintenance prompted a shift towards a lighter and sweeter crude slate at El Dorado post-turnaround, limiting the company’s overall crude charge at its five refineries during fourth-quarter 2014 to 359,000 b/d.

El Dorado’s scheduled turnaround began in late September, according to the company’s third-quarter 2014 earnings report, which outlined a series of upgrades and growth initiatives currently planned for the refinery.

Already under way, a $95 million naphtha fractionation project, which will enable the refinery to generate hydrogen using natural gas in lieu of crude oil and improve liquid yields by reducing lower-value byproducts such as fuel gas, propane, and butane, is scheduled to be completed during spring 2015, the company said in its 2013 annual report and a September 2014 presentation to investors.

Other capital projects at El Dorado outlined in HollyFrontier’s latest quarterly earnings report include:

• An additional hydrogen plant.

• A low-NOx additon to the refinery’s fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCC) flue gas scrubber.

• The installation of an FCC gasoline hydrotreater in order to meet the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 3 gasoline requirements.

Continuing project work at El Dorado also is to include upgrades to the FCC designed to improve liquid yields, upgrades to the crude unit desalter, and installation of a new tail-gas treatment unit to reduce air emissions in compliance with the refinery’s existing EPA consent decree.