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Raging Wildfire Threatens Texas Oil Rigs, Refinery

Texas Panhandle oil refineries and cattle ranches remain under critical threat as wildfires continue to spread, now consuming 500,000 acres after having prompted the temporary evacuation of the United States’ primary nuclear weapons assembly plant.

Earlier on Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had declared a disaster for 60 counties being affected by four separate wildfires that have so far decimated more than 320,000 acres, with shifting winds threatening further spread. By mid-day Wednesday, the wildfires had consumed over 500,000 acres. 

The wildfire, dubbed the Smokehouse Creek Fire, is the second-largest in Texas’ history, NBC reported, citing Texas A&M Forest Service. According to the Associated Press, the main fire has grown five times since Monday. 

U.S. nuclear weapons assembly facility Pantex was open for business on Wednesday after having evacuated its personnel the day before. 

The governor’s disaster declaration affects Phillips 66’s Borger refinery in Hutchinson County, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Phillips 66 did not respond to queries from Bloomberg. 

The refinery has a crude throughput capacity of 75,000 barrels per day, and a gasoline throughput capacity of 50,000 barrels per day. 

So far, the wildfires have led to power outages for over 10,300 consumers and over 4,200 businesses, with the majority of those outages on Wednesday registered in Hutchinson County. 

While the initial cause of the fire is unclear, strong winds, unusually warm temperatures and dry grass are contributing to its spread, with some 13,000 near the Phillips 66 refinery in Borger evacuated, The Associated Press reports, noting that the fire has spread across plains housing cattle ranches and oil rigs.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Kenneth Lower on February 29 2024 said:
    MBD means thousands of barrels/day, not millions. 75 million bbl throughput would be nearly 3/4 of the entire world's oil use/day.

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