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Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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Valero Halts Operations At Texas Refinery After Fire

  • Valero's 290,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Corpus Christi experienced a fire, leading to the shutdown of certain units without any injuries.
  • This is the second fire at the refinery in 2023, specifically at the West Plant, a key producer of motor fuels.
  • The shutdown occurs amidst a backdrop of distillate inventories in the U.S. being 13% below the five-year average and rising diesel and jet fuel prices.
Refinery

Valero Energy Corp has shut down certain units of its 290,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Corpus Christi following a fire, according to a recent filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The filing, made on Thursday, said that the fire at its Bill Greehey—or West plant—had been contained, adding that there were no injuries. “The refinery utilized appropriate procedures to expedite a systematic shutdown of relevant units and minimize emissions,” the filing read. 

Valero also experienced a fire at the same refinery back in May—again at the West Plant. Most of the motor fuels that come from Valero’s Corpus Christi refinery come from the West Plant, which plant processes both sweet crude and sour crude, as well as residual fuel oil, according to Valero’s website. 

The East and West refineries produce gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, asphalt, and aromatics.

Distillate inventories in the United States have long languished well below what is typical for this time of year. At last EIA count, distillate inventories in the United States were 13% below the five-year average. 

News of the shutdown comes as Russia, the world’s top seaborne diesel exporter, lifted its ban on pipeline diesel imports after just a week. The ban lifted the price of crude oil most suitable for making diesel and jet fuel, sending prices for this feedstock upward. 

Valero’s West plant receives some of its feedstock by tanker or barge via deepwater docking facilities along the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, while West Texas or South Texas crude oil comes into the refinery via pipeline, Valero’s website explains. 

The West plant was commissioned in 1983, then known as the Bill Greehey refinery. Valero says it is “one of the most complex refineries in the world.”

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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