Sunoco may convert Marcus Hook, Philadelphia refineries into ethylene plants as it considers options to exit refining business

LOS ANGELES , September 6, 2011 () – Philadelphia-based Sunoco Inc. may convert its Marcus Hook and Philadelphia refineries to ethylene plants as part of several options under consideration as it seeks to exit its refining business, ICIS news reported the same day.

The two plants would be able to benefit from the Marcellus Shale’s natural gas deposits—located primarily in Pennsylvania—that are rich in ethane, ICIS noted.

The Marcus Hook refinery currently can produce 165,000 tonnes per year of benzene, 200,000 tonnes/year of propylene and 165,000 tonnes/year of toluene, while the Philadelphia facility produces 65,000 tonnes/year of benzene, 545,000 tonnes/year of cumene and 180,000 tonnes/year of propylene, according to ICIS.

Sunoco CEO Lynn Eisenhaus said its refining business has been in the red eight of the last 10 quarters and faces significant expenses to meet environmental requirements.

The company said it would shut down the main processing units at both facilities in July of next year if it can’t find a feasible transaction. Sunoco had previously announced it was leaving the refining business and is currently considering all options.

The primary source of this article is ICIS news, Sept. 6, 2011.

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