NEW YORK, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Refiner Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) expects to be bringing in by rail 140,000 barrels of Bakken crude per day by the third quarter of this year, Chief Executive Officer Philip Rinaldi told an energy forum late on Thursday.
PES, a joint venture of Carlyle Group and Energy Transfer Partners, which bought former owner Sunoco last year, decided to take advantage of swelling supplies of crude from the huge shale oil play in the north west.
"By the end of the year, we will be the single largest consumer of Bakken oil," Rinaldi told the New York Energy Forum, outlining a three-phased project to expand the ability of the two-refinery complex to take in the crude.
Tapping into rail as a means of getting cheap domestic crude, rather than importing from abroad, had turned around the plant, which had been losing a million dollars a day for three years running, he said, citing Sunoco's assessment of losses.
By April 1, PES will be able to accept two or three unit trains filled with crude per week. By July and perhaps as early as the end of May, it will take five unit trains, and in the third quarter of this year, 14 in total, Rinaldi said.
A unit train does not have its cars disassembled, reloaded or redirected throughout its journey -- the entire train carries the same cargo from point of origin to destination.
The unit trains PES will use carry 70,000 barrels of crude a day in 120 cars that stretch 1.5 miles. Once the third phase is complete, two trains a day will offload at the 147-year-old complex, Rinaldi said.
The Girard Point and Point Breeze refineries that make up the PES plant have a collective refining capacity of 330,000 barrels a day.
When asked about another popular route of transporting Bakken oil by rail to the port of Albany, NY, and then taking it by barge to its final destination, Rinaldi said such a method "becomes very sloppy" and costs several dollars a barrel more.
He said he expected a major turnaround project at the complex to be completed in early March with a renovated residual catalytic cracker that would improve the reliability and efficiency of the operation.
Rinaldi said further work on the plant that would turn a hydrotreater into a distillates hydrocracker would boost PES's ability to export diesel to Europe by increasing the yield of distillates in the refining process.