Norco refinery from Shell will restart later than expected after fire

Norco refinery

Norco refinery, one of Shell’s top refineries in Louisiana, will delay its restart after it got on fire this Tuesday. According to Reuters, it was Norco’s crude distillation unit that got on fire after the company conducted assessments.

Firstly, Shell was in the process of restarting the 240,000-bpd CDU this Tuesday when suddenly a fire broke out. Sources did not specify why the CDU started burning but did say the restart date would be delayed.

Moreover, the Norco refinery has been shut since August 28; one day before Hurricane Ida passed over the refinery, causing damage requiring a month of repairs. As of this afternoon, the company did not say if the fire caused severe damages or victims.

However, the 230,611 barrel-per-day intended to restart its gasoline and diesel producing units as soon as this weekend. Overall, the company intended to restart the 240,000-bpd CDU; the 112,000-bpd gasoline-producing residual catalytic cracking unit (RCCU) and 40,000-bpd diesel-producing hydrocracker.

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Norco refinery, known for a 1988 explosion

In addition, and following the original plan, the 25,000-bpd coker and 40,000-bpd reformer would have initiated activity, after the former two units did.

Furthermore, after Hurricane Ida hit the refinery, the company had already restarted the refinery’s 55,000-bpd diesel hydrotreater and two sulfur recovery units. However, today’s accident might delay the whole process. Shell was not available for comment, nor a spokesperson from the company.

On the other hand, the refinery is famous for its 1988 explosion. Back on May 5th, 1988, a tremendous blast claimed the lives of seven employees and released over 150 million pounds of pollution into the air.

The explosion happened in the middle of the night, at 3,37 am. According to sources, the explosion happened due to a malfunction in a vapor line. The event was so hard that residents in New Orleans heard the blast. The refinery burned for over eight hours before the fire stopped.

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