Royal Dutch Shell Plc has restarted a second crude distillation unit (CDU) at reduced rates at its fire-hit Singapore refinery, a week after the first was partially restarted, as per Reuters. The 110,000 bpd CDU, which began restart operations last Sunday, will reach stable operating levels in 2-3 days, and is expected to run at a reduced rate of around 75%. Restart of its distillate-making hydrocracker is planned at the 500,000 bpd plant within the next 2-3 days. The CDU operations will facilitate restart of the 35,000 bpd hydrocracker, which was shut due to its proximity to the fire but was undamaged.
With partial operations at the second CDU, the refinery is currently running at about 40%, as its largest 210,000 bpd capacity CDU has been functioning at about 50% for around a week. A third CDU, of 110,000 bpd capacity, and some other smaller secondary units are still shut after the fire that lasted for more than 30 hours, largely crippling capability to deliver clean oil products, such as gas oil, jet fuel, gasoline and naphtha. Shell is slowly trying to get the CDUs and the main secondary units back up at reduced rates, primarily to yield products that are high margin, such as base oils and lubricants, as well as petrochemicals.
Restart of the plant's operations is moving in line with the stage-by-stage construction of the delivery system, and the third CDU is also expected to be operational at partial levels in about a week. The plant is expected run at reduced rates over the next 2-3 months as the replacement delivery system is gradually put in place, while runs are slowly ramped up, amid repairs to the Pump House area where the fire occurred. Full repairs to the damaged area are expected to take about a year.