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Marathon Shuts Gasoline Unit At Texas Refinery After Fire

Marathon Petroleum shut the gasoline-making unit of its huge Galveston Bay refinery in Texas, the fourth-largest in the U.S. by capacity, after a fire broke out on Thursday night, sources with knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay refinery in Texas City, Texas, has a total crude processing capacity of 593,000 barrels per calendar day (bpcd). The refinery can process a wide variety of crude oils into gasoline, distillates, natural gas liquids and petrochemicals, heavy fuel oil, and propane.

The fire broke out in the fluidic catalytic cracker (FCC) which produces gasoline and has a capacity of 140,000 bpd. The fire erupted in the regenerator of the FCC, Reuters’ sources said, adding that there were no injuries reported after the incident.  

Earlier this year, a worker at Marathon Petroleum died and two others were taken to hospital with injuries after a fire broke out in the same refinery.

The shutdown of a gasoline unit at one of the largest U.S. refineries comes at the end of the summer driving season.

However, gasoline prices are expected to spike in the coming days, according to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

U.S. gasoline prices are headed higher in the nation’s Corn Belt, and could rise by as much as $1 per gallon at some gas stations, De Haan said on Thursday.

The huge spike in that single area could send the national average a few cents higher, De Haan added—and pump prices have already hit the highest seasonal level in more than a decade.

Strong demand and a series of refinery outages have contributed to the recent rise in gasoline prices, while a tightening global oil market has also been pushing crude oil prices up.

The current average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States is $3.808, up from $3.751 at the same time last year, according to AAA data from early on Friday.    

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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