Chevron plans put on hold due to economy

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A much awaited pilot project at Chevron's Pascagoula Refinery has been deferred due to the economy. The VRSH project, announced last March, won't be considered again until at least 2010.

The company says the delay is due to the dropping price of crude oil. What the project would do is turn heavy crude oil into cleaner burning fuels like jet fuel, gasoline and diesel. The company has been researching the technology since 2003.

The Pascagoula refinery, the site of the pilot project, would be one tenth of the size of a regular commercial plant.

Refinery officials say the economic conditions that caused the deferral are now giving them a chance to make improvements before construction begins.

"By deferring it we'll have time to go back to the lab so to speak, Richmond, California, where we do research, and we'll have time to look at the design and possibly improve the design of that process," Chevron Mississippi Government and Public Affairs Manager Steve Renfroe said. "So there will still be work going on here; it just won't necessarily be here in Pascagoula.'

There are three other projects in the works at the refinery. The ETP and CCR projects are already under construction. As for the P-bop project, there'll be discussion on whether to move forward with it this year. Before its deferral, the VRSH project was ahead of the P-bop.

Company officials say they are excited about all the projects on the radar for the Pascagoula Refinery...and aren't discouraged by VRSH's deferral.

  • Effluent Treatment (ETP) - 2009
  • Continuous Catalyst Regeneration (CCR) - 2010
  • Pascagoula Base Oil Project (PBOP)- Decision to Build in 2009
  • Vacuum Resid Slurry Hydrocracking (VRSH) Project- Deferred- Decision to Build as early as 2010