Fire at Exxon oil refinery in Texas

Four injured in fire at Exxon oil refinery in Baytown, Texas


Four people were injured when a fire broke out Thursday at an Exxon Mobil Corp complex in Baytown, Texas, one of the largest refining and petrochemical facilities in the United States.

There were no fatalities and the injured were in stable condition and receiving medical treatment. The remaining personnel were accounted for, Exxon said.

The fire had been extinguished by about 10 a.m. ET (1500 GMT), several hours after it broke out.

An Exxon official told a news conference that the fire had affected a unit that produces gasoline.

People familiar with the plant’s operations told Reuters that the fire broke out in a hydrotreater unit at the refinery that had been shut down on Wednesday due to a leak in the bypass line. Hydrotreaters remove sulfur and other contaminants to produce diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.

Exxon is adjusting production rates at other Baytown processing units to focus on stabilizing the affected units, spokeswoman Julie King said.

The Baytown plant houses a chemical plant, an olefins plant and the nation’s fourth-largest oil refinery, with capacity to process 560,500 barrels per day of crude oil. It is unclear whether any of the units will be shut down for an extended period of time.

The injured were contractors who had been repairing the leak. Three of the injured were taken to the hospital in a Lifeflight rescue helicopter and a fourth person was taken by ambulance, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter.

Gonzalez said initial reports had indicated there had been some kind of explosion at the plant. Social media users said on Twitter that an explosion rocked buildings in the area.

The plant spans about 3,400 acres along the Houston Ship Channel, about 25 miles east of Houston, and employs about 7,000 people.

Source Reuters

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