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ExxonMobil’s Beaumont, Texas refinery could remain in partial shutdown until late January due to damage the facility sustained from a recent fire, according to a new report by Reuters.
The 362,300 barrel per day refinery has lost functionality in its small crude distillation unit (CDU). Exxon spokesperson Charlotte Huffaker said the company was continuing repairs at the refinery, but did not disclose additional information about the status of the damaged areas.
The broken CDI is responsible for 110,000 bpd of distillation, but the refinery is still processing 240,000 bpd of crude. The fire was extinguished 40 minutes after it started. None of the workers present were injured.
ExxonMobil posted a solid Q3 2017, earning $4 billion, up nearly 50 percent from the $2.7 billion earned a year ago.
“A 50 percent increase in earnings through solid business performance and higher commodity prices is a step forward in our plan to grow profitability,” Exxon CEO Darren Woods said in a statement.
Some other highlights include a fifth discovery in Guyana, which has emerged as one of the company’s high priorities; a high-profile foray into offshore Brazil; and a sizable increase in Permian acreage. Exxon took an earnings hit of $160 million in the quarter, or 4 cents per share, from the damage related to Hurricane Harvey. Overall, Exxon’s cash flow has outpaced capex and dividends for the fourth consecutive quarter.
Low oil prices over the past three years have made it impossible for fossil fuel giants to profit the way they used to before the 2014 crash. ExxonMobil wrote off 3.5 billion barrels of oil sands from its book in February, admitting that they were unviable to develop in today’s market. Expensive oil sands, especially for greenfield projects, no longer make sense when executives are looking to allocate scarce capital.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…