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Flint Hills Resources’ West Refinery in Corpus Christi is getting $250 million in
upgrades. The improvements will allow the company to process more Eagle Ford crude
and reduce emissions. The upgrades wouldn’t
add capacity, but would allow the company to
process more South Texas crude.
Flint Hills operates two Corpus Christi
refineries. The West Refinery that will be
upgraded refines 230,000 barrels of oil per day and the East Refinery refines 70,000
barrels per day. Currently, only 50% of the crude processed in the West Refinery is
sourced from the Eagle Ford, but additional processing facilities will allow Flint Hills to
maximize the use of local supply. The expansion will not be noticeable to the untrained
eye and will add 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction.
Getting to Market
“We have all these sweet barrels in the Midwest that need to find a home, and they’re getting to the market by planes, trains and
automobiles, you name it,” said Stephen Schork, president of the Schork Group Inc. in Villanova, Pennsylvania. “You compound that
with increased production in west Texas and the Eagle Ford, and you have a template for LLS to move to a discount.”
The capacity to transport light, sweet oil to the Gulf Coast from Cushing and inland shale formations will expand to more than 2 million
barrels a day by the end of this year and 4.5 million by the end of 2014 from less than 500,000 barrels a day at the end of 2011, Klesse
Valero currently buys about 140,000 barrels of oil a day from Eagle Ford, said Bill Day, a San Antonio-based spokesman for the
company. The crude is transported by truck to an unloading dock next to Valero (VLO)’s Three Rivers, Texas, refinery. About 70,000
barrels a day is fed to that refinery, and the remainder via recently reversed pipelines to plants in Corpus Christi and Houston.
The company brought two foreign oil shipments totaling 547,000 barrels of light, sweet crude to Gulf Coast ports in June, down from
4.88 million barrels in June 2010, data from the Energy Department showed.