Processing Magazine

BP''s Texas plant returns to 100 percent capacity

January 5, 2009

After three years of post-Hurricane Rita restoration work, BP''s Texas City refinery began operating at full capacity, meeting its own end of 2008 deadline, according to the Associated Press. The milestone was reached when the unit that produces high-octane gasoline blending products finally began at the 475,000-barrel-a-day plant. The plant''s revival comes in the midst of a recession, with a 4 percent drop in demand as oil prices fell $100 a barrel from summer highs. BP is continuing to deliver on promises to improve its operation. In addition to getting the plant back online, they are also credited with last fall''s ramp-up of their Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico after three years of delays. BP is still awaiting word from a federal judge in Houston regarding a plea deal to resolve its criminal liability in the March 2005 explosion at the Texas City plant that killed fifteen people and injured many more. The deal called for BP to plead guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Air Act, pay a $50 million fine, and to be on probation for three years for safety and maintenance failures that led to the blast, but victims challenged whether the deal sufficiently punishes the company. BP''s Texas City plant is the nation''s third-largest refinery behind two Exxon Mobil plants in Baytown and Baton Rouge, according to the Energy Information Administration.