From: Reuters
Published December 31, 2007 12:02 PM

BP Texas City refinery to miss 2007 restart goal

By Robert Campbell

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Delays to the restart of a crude unit at BP Plc's <BP.L> Texas City, Texas, refinery will cause the major to miss its goal of raising crude oil processing rates at the refinery to 400,000 barrels per day by the end of 2007, a source familiar with refinery operations said Monday.

"They are starting to bring up the last crude unit now," said the source.

"It probably won't reach 400,000 bpd until mid-February."


BP has missed several self-imposed deadlines during the lengthy restoration of operations at the troubled 460,000 barrels per day refinery, the site of an explosion in March 2005 that killed 15 workers.

The Texas City blast was the first in a string of accidents and scandals in the United States that have so far cost BP more than $2 billion in fines and compensation as well as untold damage to its carefully constructed image as a progressive energy company.

BP now expects to reach the 400,000 bpd rate by mid-February and will ramp up crude-oil processing to full capacity by the middle of the second quarter of 2008, the industry source said.

The giant refinery, the third-largest in the continental United States, was completely shut for six months from September 2005 for a $1 billion safety overhaul and has been slowly restarting operations.

Oil traders told Reuters earlier in December that the restart of the 225,000 bpd crude unit had hit some unanticipated delays, forcing the company to cut back some of its crude oil purchasing.

Separately, BP reported to Texas Environmental regulators on Monday it began a planned maintenance turnaround on the No. 3 alkylation unit at Texas City.

The work, which will last approximately 90 days, according to the source familiar with refinery operations, will not have a material impact on gasoline output at the refinery.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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