Imperial hydrocracker out, petchem impact unlikely

14 December 2006 20:38  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--An  explosion and fire on Thursday morning at Imperial Oil's Sarnia, Ontario refinery was unlikely to affect its petrochemical production, an analyst said.


The blast occurred at the refinery's hydrocracker unit, the company said.


The refinery supplies feedstock to Imperial’s adjacent ethylene plant but Imperial said in a statement it was too early to assess impacts on supplies of products from the unit.


However, with the accident occurring in the hydrocracker - where hydrogen is used to crack heavy oil under high pressure - impacts on the petrochemicals operations were not likely, an analyst said.


“This will almost certainly not have any petrochemical impact,” said John Cummings, an independent Toronto-based petrochemicals analysts.


Imperial has shut down the 18,000 bbld/day hydrocracker, which produces components for gasoline, diesel fuel and lubricant base stock.


Apart form the hydrocracker, all major units at the 119,000 bbl/day refinery continued to operate, the Calgary-based company said.


Imperial operates another refinery in southern Ontario and would work to ensure customer supplies from that facility, it added.


Imperial Oil is majority-owned by ExxonMobil.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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