Marathon refinery hosts dedication for splitter project

Published 9:40 am Thursday, June 4, 2015

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. — The Marathon Petroleum Company (MPC) Catlettsburg refinery’s new condensate splitter unit is in its final stages of commissioning and on Wednesday a dedication and ribbon cutting took place to signify the accomplishment.

“This refinery project really enables us to use a lot of locally produced crude oil in the Tri-State region,” Dan Schlaeppi, refinery engineering manager, said. “We will process that here and turn it into gasoline, diesel and LPG (propane) that we can sell back into this region.”

The splitter project consists of a new splitter unit, condensate storage tanks and dock modifications for barge unloading. That is the method of how condensate will be transported via the Ohio and Big Sandy rivers, and will allow the refinery to produce an additional 35,000 barrels of condensate per day. Condensate is a light form of crude oil that is used to make gasoline.

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Eighty-Four engineers, primarily from C&I Engineering in Louisville, Kentucky, and Jacobs Engineering in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were involved in the unit’s design. Construction for the project began in October 2013 and includes 13 miles of pipe, 70 new pieces of equipment, 400,000 tons of rock, 3,025 cubic yards of concrete, 555 tons of steel, 48 miles of wire and the impact that the splitter project has already had on the local economy is something that MPC officials are very proud of.

“It created a lot of jobs,” Schlaeppi said. “There were over 1,000 local construction workers from 39 different firms. It also made four new permanent jobs.”

In December of last year, the same project was completed at MPC’s Canton refinery. The cost of both projects was approximately $250 million, but will allow Marathon to produce 60,000 barrels of condensate per day, 35,000 at Catlettsburg and 25,000 at Canton.

“This is important to the refinery because it helps endure our long term success,” Rich Hernandez, refinery general manager, said. “It keeps us very competitive in a very competitive industry.”