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Shelter in Place Order Issued As Exxon Refinery Goes Up In Flames

Exxon Mobil’s oil refinery in Baytown, Texas has erupted in fire, sparking a shelter in place order for the area, according to the City of Baytown’s Twitter account on Wednesday afternoon.

Emergency response teams have been dispatched to the refinery, according to local media.

Exxon is reportedly monitoring the air quality as a precaution and is trying to account for all its personnel in the wake of the fire. Exxon spokeswoman Sarah Nordin told Reuters have been treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The refinery is capable of processing almost 600,000 barrels of crude per day, and is located along the Houston Ship Channel which is the largest energy port in the United States. The Olefins plant is the largest ethylene plant in the world. It’s newest cracker at Baytown Olefins can process 1.5 million tons per year, according to its website.

The unit affected is responsible for processing light hydrocarbons including propane and propylene, Nordin said.

US Gulf Coast CBOB spot prices were higher on Wednesday, according to Reuters, following the news.

This is Baytown’s second refinery incident in as many months, after an “unplanned operational issue” at Baytown’s Chevron Phillips plant sent plumes of black smoke in the air. Two months prior to that, the Intercontinental Terminals Company storage site at Deer Park, Texas blazed for days, halting ship traffic in the Houston port. It, too, had a shelter in place order issued.

Exxon’s Baytown refinery had just recently restarted, according on a July 10 statement from Exxon Mobil, who said at the time that it was planning to restart its Baytown refinery complex within a week, following a period of maintenance.

Exxon Mobil’s Baytown refinery experienced another fire in March, according to the Houston Chronicle.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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