BP is overhauling a 75,000-barrel-per-day crude distillation unit at the BP Whiting Refinery in a major maintenance project.
The planned maintenance work started earlier this month. BP spokesman Michael Abendoff said. He did not know the timetable for completion.
Crude distillation units, or CDUs, refine crude oil into a hydrocarbon feedstock that's used to make gasoline, jet fuel and other fuels at the 430,000-barrel-per-day refinery that sprawls across 1,400 acres in Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago.
The BP Whiting Refinery also operates a 240,000-barrel-per-day crude distillation unit and another 75,000-barrel-per-day one, so is able to continue regular operations during the outage, though not at full capacity.
BP just idled the Pipestill 12 crude distillation unit, the largest at the refinery on the Lake Michigan lakeshore, for several months last fall for another planned maintenance project.
The BP Whiting Refinery is the largest refinery in the Midwest and the biggest one in BP's global portfolio, producing more than 10 million gallons of gasoline, 3.5 million gallons of diesel and 1.7 million gallons of jet fuel a day. It supplies gas to seven Midwestern states and single-handedly produces 5% of the nation's asphalt.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that as much as 8.5% of refining capacity is offline nationwide as BP and other oil companies do maintenance.