Detroit Heavy Oil Upgrade Project (DHOUP)

Marathon Petroleum Corporation

Marathon Petroleum Corporations (MPC) $2.2 billion, four-year Detroit Heavy Oil Upgrade Project (DHOUP) at its became the largest construction project in Michigan’s history when it was completed in 2012. General contractor Fluor Constructors selected Motor City Electric Co. to perform the electrical installation work for the enormous EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) project located at MPCs Detroit Refinery.

  • The upgrade enables the refinery to produce 400,000 gallons of additional motor fuels per day. Through the addition of 13 new and revamped units, along with associated utilities and offsite facilities, the upgrade increased the refinery’s heavy-oil processing capacity to 120,000 barrels a day, more than five times the amount it could process before the project.

Located near I-75 in southwest Detroit, the 87-year-old refinery covers 250 acres. The upgrade project added new equipment to the refinery enabling it to process heavy and viscous crude oils. The equipment includes:

  • A delayed coker unit to enable the refinery to produce liquid petroleum fuel blend components and higher quality gasoline, diesel, and petroleum coke
  • A sulphur recovery complex to recover the sulphur removed from fuels
  • A hydrogen plant to remove sulphur from motor oils (see our profile of the hydrogen plant!)
  • A selective catalytic reduction system and an ultra-low nitrous oxide burner to control nitrogen oxides
  • A distillate hydrotreater to extract sulphur from diesel and kerosene
  • 180 heat exchangers and 16 compressors

Additionally, most of the existing processing equipment underwent major upgrades, as did the existing utilities and off-sites. Although the new equipment and upgrades increased capacity, they also reduced emissions below EPA mandated regulations.


Through a property purchase program, MPC purchased many of the residential properties in a neighborhood adjacent to the refinery and maintains the area as a green space available for public use.


Motor City Electric


Marathon Petroleum Corporation


Detroit, Michigan


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