Member-owners of CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, are now benefitting from the recently completed coker at the company’s central Kansas refinery.
Construction of the coker unit at the CHS Refinery at McPherson began in March 2013 and took nearly 2.8 million construction man hours to complete. The unit began operating on Feb. 5.
“The new coker allows the refinery to process a larger variety of crude oils, thus delivering the best value to our owners and customers by purchasing the most cost-effective crude oil available,” said Jim Loving, CHS senior vice president, refining, pipelines and terminals. “We’re also able to meet increased product demand while creating an even safer operating environment for our employees.”
During the refining process, the coker converts the heaviest portion of crude oil into more valuable liquid products that can then be converted into gasoline or diesel fuel. Any remaining product is sold as petroleum coke for use in industrial applications.
The CHS Refinery at Laurel, Mont., began operating a new coker unit in 2008. Upgrades at each refinery are expected to bring combined production to 160,000 barrels a day in 2019. In recent years, CHS has invested $2 billion in refined fuels manufacturing and distribution upgrades and ownership to serve our owners and customers.
Safety is a central feature of the new unit which has a fully automated decoking control system. This allows operators to drill out and remove coke from the drums from a protected area that is a safe distance away from the coker. Prior to successful startup, unit operators were extensively trained and equipment was thoroughly checked and tested.
“Replacing our previous coker, built in 1952, was essential for the refinery’s continued operation,” said Rick Leicht, McPherson refinery vice president. “Our new coker is state of the art and improves operational safety and reliability. In addition, we have flexibility in processing the most economically favorable crude oils.”