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Louisiana refinery back on line

By
PHIL MAGERS

LAKE CHARLES, La., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- CITGO Petroleum Corp. announced Tuesday that its Lake Charles refinery has been brought back to full operating capacity except for a Unicracker unit damaged by a fire last month.

The 330,000 barrel-per-day refinery has been operating at a reduced rate since Sept. 21, when the fire occurred in the Unicracker, which produces turbine fuel. Repairs on the unit are expected to be completed in mid-November. There were no injuries in the fire.

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"Although none of the other refinery units were damaged, we brought those units back up slowly and deliberately to ensure the safety of our employees," stated Al Prebula, CITGO vice president at the Lake Charles complex. "We are very pleased to have the refinery back up at full capacity, and are working diligently to get the Unicracker back on stream."

An investigation determined the accident occurred as a result of an internal detonation in the Unicracker hydrogen supply filter system as that system was being brought back into service following a routine filter change. When the incident occurred, it ruptured a 6-inch gasoline line that served as the primary source of fuel for the fire.

CITGO, based in Tulsa, Okla., is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial products. It is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Republic of Venezuela.

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