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Exxon shuts Beaumont, Texas refinery due to flooding: sources

Kitco News

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp has shut its 369,024 barrel per day (bpd) Beaumont, Texas, crude oil refinery because of flooding from Tropical Storm Imelda, sources familiar with plant operations said on Thursday.

Spokesman Jeremy Eikenberry said on Tuesday that Exxon’s Beaumont chemical plant adjoining the refinery was safely shut on Thursday morning.

Total SA cut coker production in half on Tuesday morning at its 225,500 bpd refinery because heavy lightning in the area made it unsafe to operate a crane used to collect petroleum coke produced by the coker.

Ship pilots stopped boarding vessels on the Beaumont, Texas, Ship Channel because of heavy weather on that waterway connecting Beaumont with the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Eikenberry said Exxon “continues preparations for severe weather at its Beaumont complex.”

“We are communicating with federal, state and local emergency planning officials about measures we are taking to prepare for continued heavy rainfall,” he said.

Rainfall totals from Tropical Depression Imelda here reached 25 inches (64 cm) in southeast Texas by midday Thursday with heavy rain expected to continue for at least another day, according to forecasters.

The Motiva Enterprises [MOTIV.UL] and Valero Energy Corp refineries in Port Arthur were operating normally on Thursday, sources familiar with operations at those plants said.

Valero told non-essential personnel not to come in to work at the 335,000 bpd Port Arthur refinery on Thursday, the sources said.

The 607,000 bpd Motiva Port Arthur refinery is the largest in the United States.

Area schools were closed across southeast Texas on Thursday. Homes, many recently rebuilt following devastating floods from 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, were flooding.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by David Evans and Bernadette Baum

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