Chevron Fires Up Port Arthur Blending


Chevron Products Co. said last week that its blending plant in Port Arthur, Texas, has resumed production following repairs of damage caused by Hurricane Rita. Further repairs are still needed at the plant, the companys largest in the United States.

In addition, officials said Chevrons lubricant business in North America has eased some of the allocations imposed previously on finished lubes and attributed to supply chain disruptions.

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The Port Arthur blending plant restarted Oct. 20, making finished lubes again for the first time since Rita struck the U.S. Gulf Coast Sept. 24. The storms eye passed near Port Arthur and the city was among the areas most heavily damaged.

The lube plant makes more than 1,000 products, for both the domestic market and for export. Chevron said it is again blending finished lubricants and greases, is filling and packaging and can load product onto bulk trucks and barges. It did not say what repairs have yet to be made or discuss the level at which the plant is operating.

The company said the plants finished goods warehouse sustained enough damage that it established a new distribution center in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The new warehouse is supplying customers in the Eastern United States while repairs in Port Arthur continue.

Officials said the company has worked hard to try to minimize disruption to customers.

During these challenging times I have seen innumerable instances of the commitment of our employees, our partners and our suppliers to help our customers and the communities in which we operate, which makes me very proud to be a part of the Chevron team, said Craig Duncan, vice president for Chevron North America Lubricants.

Chevron did not mention the problems at Port Arthur as a factor in its allocations, attributing them instead to hurricane-related disruptions on many companies in its supply chain. In a brief statement to Lube Report, Duncan did not identify any particular companies, but industry sources say Chevron has cited the problems of subsidiary Chevron Oronite, an additive supplier of which Chevron North American Lubricants is a major customer. (See article above.)

Chevron has declined to discuss details of the allocations it has imposed. Industry sources say the caps began before Rita struck and that they appear to have varied in different parts of the country but have generally ranged around 50 percent to 90 percent of normal orders, with products such as gear and driveline lubricants subject to some of the most severe restrictions.

Lube distributors described a variety of products being affected, although Duncan maintained that the majority of the product line was not. Duncan added that the company has eased allocations on some products, an assertion supported by distributors.

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