PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

October 31, 2012

New Valero hydrocracker to go online in December

Josh Brown
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Valero Energy Corp. introduced a new hydrocracking facility for its Port Arthur refinery during a business luncheon Tuesday.

The $1.5 billion project has been in the works since 2006 and will finally be ready for full service in December.

Hydrocracking is the process of breaking down petroleum molecules by adding hydrogen under high-pressure conditions.

The expansion was put on hold due to the economy in 2009, according to John Wallace, director of major projects for Valero Port Arthur Refinery.

“It was a big shock to the project managers,” Wallace said.

Now complete, the expansion will allow the facility to produce an additional 50,000 barrels of fuel a day, Wallace said.

The facility has created 25 permanent jobs, according to Wallace, not including all the workers needed for construction in the past several years.

“We’re expecting it to have a big impact to our facility,” Wallace said. “We could not have executed this project without the help of a lot of folks who are in this room.”

Valero spent $551 million at companies in Jefferson County constructing the project, Wallace said, and $1.4 million in adjacent cities.

“We’re real fortunate to have some capable people here in Port Arthur to help us out,” he said.

The project used 7,000 tons of steel, more than 400 pieces of new equipment, 90 feet of piping, and 2.4 million lineal feet of wiring.

“That’s enough cable to get to San Antonio and back,” Wallace said.

The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce hosted the luncheon at the Holiday Inn express on Jimmy Johnson Boulevard.

Two Port Arthur city council members, the city manager, and Mayor Deloris “Bobby” Prince were in attendance. Prince thanks the chamber and all who ere involved in the process.

“What we do is try to promote one another,” she said.

E-mail: jbrown@panews.com

Twitter: @joshnathanbrown