The Chalmette refinery located near New Orleans, Louisiana, US has a processing capacity of 185,000 barrels of crude oil a day (bpd). Image courtesy of Rongy Benjamin.
PBF Energy acquired the Chalmette refinery in November 2015. Image courtesy of Stuart Caie.
A feasibility study is underway for the conversion of an idled hydrocracker unit into a renewable diesel production complex. Image courtesy of Mokeneco.

The Chalmette refinery located near New Orleans, US has a processing capacity of 185,000 barrels of crude oil a day (bpd). It is owned and operated by PBF Energy, a US-based independent refining company.

PBF Energy acquired the Chalmette refinery and its associated logistics assets from ExxonMobil (50%) and PDV Chalmette (50%), a subsidiary of Venezuela state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), in November 2015. The associated logistics assets include pipelines, crude and products storage facilities, and a marine terminal.

The Chalmette refinery is a dual-train coking refinery with a Nelson Complexity Index of 13. It can handle both light and heavy crude oil.

A feasibility study is currently underway for the conversion of an idled hydrocracker unit, which has not been in operation since 2010, into a renewable diesel production complex.

PBF Energy is likely to invest approximately £394m ($550m) on the renewable diesel production project which is expected to include a pre-treatment unit for preparing feedstocks from soybean oil, corn oil, and other biogenically derived fats and oils. The project is yet to be sanctioned by PBF Energy.

Location and product details

The Chalmette refinery is spread over 400 acres on the banks of the Mississippi River, in Chalmette, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, US.

Built in 1915, the refinery produces a range of products, including gasoline, distillate, petroleum coke, benzene, and xylene.

The refinery has a tankage capacity of approximately 2.6 million barrels for crude oil and approximately  5.5 million barrels for intermediates and products.

Refinery processing modules

The main processing units in the refinery include atmospheric crude distillation units of an aggregate capacity of 185,000 barrels a stream day (bpd), a 114,000bpd vacuum distillation unit, a 75,000bpd fluid catalytic cracking unit, 189,000bpd hydrotreating units, a 42,000bpd delayed coking facility, a 42,000bpd catalytic reforming unit, a 17,000bpd alkylation unit, and a 17,000bpd aromatics extraction unit.

A 12,000bpd coker unit, idled in 2010, was restarted in the fourth quarter of 2019 for processing additional heavy and high-sulphur feedstocks.

Pipelines and logistics infrastructure

As part of the refinery acquisition, PBF Energy also picked up a 100% interest in the MOEM Pipeline, as well as a stake in the Clovelly-Alliance-Meraux (CAM) pipeline connection. Both the pipelines supply feedstock for the refinery.

The 87km-long, 14in-diameter MOEM Pipeline supplies crude oil from a terminal in Empire, South Louisiana to the Chalmette refinery. The CAM Connection Pipeline enables access to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port facility through a third-party pipeline.

PBF Energy also acquired an 80% stake each in the Collins Pipeline Company and T&M Terminal Company. Both the companies enable the transportation of petroleum products from the refinery through the Plantation and Colonial Pipelines.

The other logistics assets for the refinery include a marine terminal both for importing feedstocks and exporting finished products.

PBF Logistics (PBFX), a subsidiary of PBF Energy, agreed to provide crude oil storage services to the Chalmette refinery for a period of ten years in February 2017. The Chalmette storage tank with a shell capacity of 625,000 barrels was constructed by PBFX. It started providing crude oil storage services in November 2017.

The other PBFX assets in the Chalmette refinery include a truck loading rack facility with a capacity of 20,000bpd, and a rail yard facility.