CITGO Petroleum Corporation announced the completion of construction and start-up of a 42,500 BPD unit utilizing the latest technology to produce Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) at its Corpus Christi, Texas refinery. With the completion of this unit, which has been in operation since December, CITGO is now capable of producing 100% ULSD at all of its refineries.
The CITGO shareholder, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, was involved in the project. PDVSA’s research arm, INTEVEP, participated early in the ULSD process unit design, in such areas as reactor sizing, and reactor internals and catalyst selection.
“Projects such as our innovative ULSD facilities show our commitment to the environment and to the communities CITGO serves. The completion of this corporate-wide effort allows us to further contribute to a cleaner environment for all,” said CITGO President and CEO Alejandro Granado. “This initiative is in alignment with the environmental principles endorsed by PDVSA, our shareholder.”
The new unit at the Corpus Christi refinery is reducing the sulfur content of the diesel transportation fuel produced at the facility by 99.7%, resulting in a very high quality product with virtually no sulfur emissions. The fuel also complies with new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for “clean diesel” fuels, supporting the long history CITGO has of supplying quality fuel that meets or exceeds all federal requirements.
With a combined crude capacity of 749,000 barrels per day in its three refineries, CITGO is the third largest and most complex independent refiner in the U.S. Additionally, CITGO leads the industry in coking capacity as a ratio of crude capacity, making CITGO the U.S. leader in heavy crude oils processing.
CITGO is also among the industry leaders in safe operations, with the stated goal of no one ever getting hurt while working at a CITGO facility. The construction of the ULSD unit at Corpus Christi was completed with zero lost time injuries.
Granado led the opening ceremony at the Corpus Christi facility on Jan. 26, which was attended by leading local and state officials as well as local CITGO marketers and refinery employees.
“Here, in Corpus Christi, the dedication of our ULSD team has allowed us to build a state-of-the-art facility that will benefit the local community and environment, as well as the locally owned stations across 27 states that CITGO services,” added Granado.
The steps involved in producing ULSD include adding hydrogen to remove the sulfur from the diesel and then recovering and converting those sulfur compounds into elemental sulfur, which is then sold into the fertilizer market.
The final diesel product from all of the CITGO refineries – including Corpus Christi – meet new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for “clean diesel” fuels.
The CITGO Corpus Christi Refinery directly employs more than 1,000 local residents while generating more than $625 million per year in support of the local economy through salaries, services and taxes. During peak construction, the ULSD and overall facility improvement projects also generated 750 contractor construction jobs for the local community. In addition to producing high quality fuels for the network of nearly 6,500 locally owned CITGO stations across the country, Corpus Christi refinery employees make a major positive impact on the community. Each year, thousands of volunteer hours and tens of thousands of dollars are given in support of community programs such as Charlie’s Place, Muscular Dystrophy Association, United Way and a variety of environmental and preservation initiatives such as the revitalization of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel and Adopt-A-Beach Clean Up.
In addition to Corpus Christi, the CITGO Lemont, Ill. refinery recently introduced their own upgraded ULSD facility that is producing 100% ULSD. The CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex in Louisiana has been producing ULSD since 2006 and is currently producing 100% ULSD to ensure a cleaner community.