In operation since 1930 and owned by Marathon Oil Co. since 1959, Marathon Petroleum Co. LLC's Detroit Refinery is Michigan's only oil refinery. The facility processes 102,000 b/d of crude oil. Gasoline represents one-half of its product mix; the facility also produces distillate, asphalt, slurry, propane, chemical-grade propylene, and sulfur.
The Detroit Refinery's capabilities include crude fractionation, catalytic cracking, hydrotreating, reforming, alkylation, and sulfur recovery. In 2005, Marathon completed an expansion that increased the facility's processing capacity by 23,000 b/d, or 1 million gallons per day, of additional motor fuels to the Detroit market. The clean fuels project enabled the refinery to produce low-sulfur gasoline and ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD).
The refinery processes crude slates ranging from light sweets to heavy sours, and many of these crudes originate in Canada.
Canadian crudes are becoming increasingly important to the Detroit Refinery, and a new project will allow Marathon to take greater advantage of Canada's abundant and less expensive heavier crude oils. Marathon in January 2008 awarded Fluor Corp. a $1.6 billion engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Detroit Heavy Oil Project (Detroit HOUP). The $2.2 billion project will increase the refinery's processing capacity by 13,000 b/d.
According to Marathon, a key feature of Detroit HOUP will be the addition of a new 28,000 b/d delayed coker. The processing unit will convert heavier, asphalt-like feedstocks into liquid petroleum fuel blend components and petroleum coke. In addition, the delayed coker will enable the Detroit Refinery to thermally convert and upgrade heavy crude into products such as gasoline, diesel, and petroleum coke.
Detroit HOUP will also equip the facility with a number of emission-reducing technologies, including: a sulfur recovery complex, ultra-low NOx burners, a 33,000 b/d distillate hydrotreater, and a hydrogen plant for hydrotreating units that remove sulfur from motor fuels.
Marathon Pipe Line LLC will construct an associated 24-inch, 29-mile-long pipeline that will replace an existing 16-inch section of active pipeline that crosses portions of the southeastern Michigan counties of Monroe and Wayne. The pipeline route will parallel approximately 63% of the existing utility corridors.
Marathon on June 20, 2008, announced that construction had begun following the company's receipt of an air quality permit by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
On February 3, 2009, Marathon announced that it was cutting its capital spending for 2009 by 24%, from $7.6 billion to $5.7 billion. In conjunction with the need to cut spending, Marathon decided to defer the completion of Detroil HOUP to mid-2012 rather than 2010 as previously planned.
The company noted the cost of the project had increased 15% to $2.2 billion and that its scope would change to allow the refinery to process heavier and higher acidic crudes. Moreover, Marathon stated the move would better align the project's completion with changes in Canadian oil sands production projectsions.
In February 2010, Marathon reported that construction activities continue on Detroit HOUP and that the project was 30% complete.
The project will require an average of 800 construction workers a day until its completion. It will ultimately add some 60 full-time employees and 75 full-time contractors. Presently, there are 480 full-time employees at the refinery.
A Sept. 16, 2010, article in the Detroit Free Press newspaper quotes Gary Heminger, Marathon's Executive Vice President-Downstream, as saying that the company will greatly expand the number of contractors on the project by mid-2011--from approximately 650 to anywhere from 1,800 to 2,000. As a result, Marathon expects to complete the project by the fourth quarter of 2012.