Work is under way at the BP Whiting Refinery to finish the process of replacing the largest of three crude distillation units as part of the facility's modernization project.
The refinery took the No. 12 Pipestill offline nearly two weeks ago, which BP CFO Brian Gilvary said in an Oct. 30 conference call with financial analysts would cut its crude refining capacity by more than half. The unit is in the final phase of replacement before it becomes fully operational in 2013.
The BP Whiting Refinery has a crude distillation capacity of about 413,000 barrels per day and up to 15 million gallons of refined products per day.
Company officials said the Whiting Refinery modernization project is about 70 percent complete as of September. When finished, the refinery will be able to operate with up to 85 percent of its feedstock being heavy Canadian crude and boost gasoline and diesel fuel production capacity by about 15 percent.
The entire project is expected to be complete by the second half of 2013. The project has cost BP several billions of dollars to date.
BP had a third quarter profit of $5.43 billion, up from $5.04 billion in the third quarter of 2011. But after accounting for inventory costs, taxes and non-operating items, profit was down 5.4 percent from a year ago.
The company's fuels business had a strong third quarter performances as refining operations benefited from a rise in crude fuel prices and production volumes being at their highest level in seven years.