British multinational oil and gas company BP has completed the upgrade of its Whiting facility in Indiana with the commissioning of a new coker that will process more Canadian oil sands crude and generate an extra $1 billion of operating cash flow per year.
The launch of the new unit in November completes the modernization of the Whiting facility, which BP described as "the largest private sector investment in Indiana history." The coker, which will transform oil into various petroleum products, has a capacity of 102,000 barrels per day, BP said.
According to Iain Conn, chief executive of BP's downstream segment, the new coker unit will help the company realize the full potential of the Whiting refinery, which is BP's biggest facility in the United States and can process up to 413,000 barrels of oil per day.
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After the upgrade, the refinery has a greater flexibility that will allow BP to increase sour crude processing, he commented. The investment allows for the company to buy and process more Canadian oil sands crude -- a product that is significantly cheaper than other crudes. At present, the refinery is going through post-start-up troubleshooting activities, the company explained.
Nick Spencer, Whiting refinery manager, noted that the modernization process also included new environmental equipment that would enable the refinery to improve air emissions and water treatment.
The Whiting plant produces gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and employs 1,900 people.