DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Foreign-Trade Zone 84, Houston, TX; Application for Subzone, Shell Oil Co.,
Refinery and Petrochemical Complex; Harris County, TX
Wednesday, August 26, 1992
An application has been submitted to the Foreign-Trade Zones Board (the
Board) by the Port of Houston Authority, grantee of FTZ 84, requesting
special-purpose subzone status for the "Deer Park" oil refinery and
petrochemical complex of Shell Oil Company, located in Harris County,
Texas. The application was submitted pursuant to the provisions of the
Foreign-Trade Zones Act, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a-81u), and the regulations
of the Board (15 CFR part 400). It was formally filed on August 14, 1992.
The refinery complex consists of 2 sites located north of the town of Deer
Park and 7 miles east of Houston, alongside the Houston Ship Channel: Site
1 (1,427 acres)--225,000 barrels per day refinery and petrochemical
manufacturing complex, including barge and tanker loading and unloading
facilities, on the south side of the Channel; and, Site 2--three crude oil
storage tanks (total 732,000 barrel capacity) and pipelines leading to and
from the tanks, leased from the Houston Fuel Oil Terminal Company, 2 miles
northeast of the refinery complex, on the north side of the Channel. The
terminals, storage facilities and pipelines operate as an integral part of
The refinery (2,400 employees) is used to produce gasoline, fuel oil, jet
fuels, middle distillates, lube oil, and naptha. Various chemical products
include epoxy resins, Bis-Phenol-A, thermoplastic rubbers, ethylene,
propylene, benzene, butadiene, and glycols. Approximately one-third of the
refinery inputs (crude oil, feedstocks, and blendstocks) are sourced
abroad. Certain chemical feedstocks such as syngas, sulphuric acid,
propylene, methyl mercaptan, and anhydrous hydrochloride may also be
sourced abroad in the future. Some 8 percent of the products are exported.
Zone procedures would exempt the refinery from Customs duty payments on the
foreign products used in its exports. On domestic sales, the company is
seeking to avoid duties on fuel used in the refinery and to choose the
finished-product duty rate in certain circumstances. For example, the
company plans to choose the zero duty rate that applies to certain
petrochemical products, such as ethylene, propylene, MEP (a
methane/ethane/propane/ hydrogen mix), butalene, butadiene, benzene,
propane, asphalt, and petroleum coke. (The duty on crude oil ranges from
5.25 to 10.5 cents/barrel.)
MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) is one of the blendstocks sourced from
abroad. On MTBE, which is blended with gasoline at the refinery and then
sold in the U.S., Shell is seeking to apply the finished gasoline duty rate
(1.25 cents/gallon) to the MTBE (duty rate--5.6%). The components of MTBE
are butytlene (a byproduct of refining at the Shell plant) and methanol,
some of which may be sourced abroad (duty rate--18%).
Foreign merchandise would also be exempt from state and local ad valorem
taxes. The application indicates that the savings from zone procedures
would help improve the refinery's international competitiveness.
In accordance with the Board's regulations (as revised, 56 FR 50790- 50808,
10-8-91), a member of the FTZ Staff has been designated examiner to
investigate the application and report to the Board.
Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions (original
and 3 copies) shall be addressed to the Board's Executive Secretary at the
address below. The closing period for their receipt is October 26, 1992.
Rebuttal comments in response to material submitted during the foregoing
period may be submitted during the subsequent 15-day period (to November 9,
A copy of the application and accompanying exhibits will be available for
public inspection at each of the following locations:
Office of the District Director,
U.S. Department of Commerce,
515 Rusk Street,
Houston, Texas 77002.
Office of the Executive Secretary,
Foreign-Trade Zones Board,
U.S. Department of Commerce,
14th & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Room 3716,
Washington, DC 20230.
Dated: August 21, 1992.
Acting Executive Secretary.
(FR Doc. 92-20474 Filed 8-25-92; 8:45 am)