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Exxon Shuts Major Texas Refinery After Flooding

ExxonMobil started on Thursday morning to shut down its 369,024-bpd crude oil refinery at Beaumont in Texas as tropical storm Imelda brought flooding to parts of southern Texas, sources familiar with Exxon’s refinery operations told Reuters on Thursday.

The Houston and Galveston areas and southeast Texas were bracing this week for the tropical storm Imelda which moved inland from just south of the coast where it had formed in the Gulf of Mexico. Imelda made landfall on Tuesday afternoon near Freeport, Texas. As it moves inland over Texas, some areas in southeast Texas were warned they could face “life-threatening flash flooding” as the now tropical depression Imelda dumped 20 inches of rain in some parts.  

Earlier on Thursday morning, the U.S. supermajor shut the chemical plant at the Beaumont petrochemical and refining complex, also due to the flooding from Imelda, Exxon’s spokesman Jeremy Eikenberry told Reuters.

Sources told Reuters then that Exxon was getting ready to begin shutdown of the refinery at the Beaumont complex.

Tropical storm Imelda formed just south of the Texas coast and didn’t move in the Gulf of Mexico to warrant shutdowns of platforms of oil operators in the Gulf.

In early July, Exxon, Chevron, Anadarko, BHP, and Shell evacuated staff from many platforms in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico ahead of the passing of tropical storm Barry.

A week later oil and gas producers began to slowly restore oil production that had shut in as much as 73 percent of the oil production in the Gulf.   

Phillips 66 had temporarily closed down its 253,600-bpd Alliance, Louisiana, refinery ahead of the storm Barry, while most of the Louisiana refineries of major operators were operating normally, refinery officials or sources told Reuters at the time.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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