Valero Refinery Fire Death


Sadly, Nicolas Cuevas, one of three contract workers injured in a flash fire last week at Valero Energy Corp.’s (VLO) oil refinery in Memphis, Tenn., died Saturday afternoon, Valero spokesman Bill Day said.

“We have learned that Mr. Nicholas Cuevas passed away today (Saturday) at the Regional Medical Center. Valero extends its thoughts and prayers to the Cuevas family and the JVIC organization. We continue to pray for the full recovery of the other injured contractors,” Day said.

Cuevas, who was as a mechanical craftsman, had burns over 90 percent of his body.

Cuevas’s brother, Daniel, along with another man whose name was not available were also hurt. One had burns on 60 to 70 percent of his body. The second man suffered burns on 30 percent of his body.

Both are still being treated at The Med. Their conditions, however, have not been released. The men’s ages are 26, 33 and 35.

The flash fire happened around 3 p.m. Tuesday when the three men were working on a flare platform venting gases. Flares are the torch-like towers topped by fire at the refinery that act as safety devices where pressurized gases can be routed and consumed when necessary.

Valero and JVIC, in full cooperation with governmental authorities, are investigating the cause of the incident.

The Memphis refinery, which is able to process up to 195,000 barrels of crude oil a day, has racked up 12 violations with OSHA in the past 6 years, costing the company more than $100,000 in fines.

A fire at the refinery stopped production in August 2011, and three people were injured during another fire at the plant in April of 2010, making this last incident the third fire in two years.

New P&W Turbine Plans


Pratt & Whitney Power Systems recently announced the development of its latest aeroderivative industrial gas turbine, the FT4000 SWIFTPAC, at the POWER-GEN International tradeshow. This next generation gas turbine is based on one of the aviation industry’s most widely utilized aircraft engines, the flight-proven PW4000 class turbofan engine, which has 26 million hours on more than 850 engines for the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777.

Designed for simple cycle, combined cycle or cogeneration and available in 60 and 120 MW power blocks, the FT4000 SWIFTPAC will provide the highest power output of any aeroderivative gas turbine generator package available in the market.

With a modular design that includes proven features of the successful FT8 SWIFTPAC and MOBILEPAC power plants, the next generation FT4000 SWIFTPAC offers a nominal 60 and 120 megawatt package of reliable peaking and base-load power in a compact footprint. The SWIFTPAC design accommodates a 60 MW single engine or a 120 MW dual engine configuration, and provides the operational flexibility inherent with aeroderivative turbines, including quick start characteristics.

The FT4000 SWIFTPAC utilizes a modified core compressor and turbine from its aero parent, maintaining more than 90 percent part commonality with the PW4170 and PW4090 engines. The next generation product’s new low pressure compressor and industrial power turbine are designed for durability and enhanced on-site maintainability, and its high speed and advanced airfoil design and variable geometry translate into optimized performance.

The new package also provides wet compression for improved performance above ISO conditions, and offers greater than 41 percent efficiency without the complexity of intercooling. Increasing global demand for electricity, sustained high prices of oil, and regulatory efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions make gas turbines an attractive source of power generation.

Gas-fired power plants produce less carbon dioxide when burned, than coal or petroleum, and recent advances in natural gas production are leading to a more affordable and abundant fuel supply. Because the FT4000 SWIFTPAC can start rapidly and follow load demand, it is also well positioned to complement intermittent and irregular renewable power generation sources.

UTC Goodrich Deal Impact


Moody’s Investors Service cut its rating outlook for United Technologies Corp. to “negative” from “stable” and said the conglomerate’s ratings face more pressure with its $16.4 billion purchase of airplane parts maker Goodrich Corp., The Associated Press reports.

Moody’s affirmed UTC’s senior unsecured and short-term ratings at A2, in the middle of investment range. But it said CEO Louis Chenevert’s comment last week that United Technologies will cut the stock it issues from $4 billion to $2 billion or less “notably entails more execution risk.”

The ratings service said that move will force the Hartford-based company into financing alternatives, such as asset sales, that are “less within the control of the company.”
Moody’s said United Technologies’ ratings are supported by its size and geographic scale, its diversified businesses and strong operating margins and free cash flow.

But it said leverage is expected to be high when the Goodrich acquisition closes at mid-year. Moody’s expects United Technologies to halt share repurchases and future acquisitions, using excess cash and stepped-up asset sales to deleverage after the Goodrich buy. The impact of this on KEVTA and its customers is likely reorganization and possible sale of certain businesses within UTC Fire & Security that supply equipment to us for our fire protection systems integration business. We will monitor this situation and mitigate any risk that arises.