Total to Shut Texas, Refinery Within Three Days (Update1)
By Barbara Powell
March 24, 2009 (Bloomberg) — Total SA, Europes third-largest
oil company, began shutting units at the Port Arthur, Texas,
refinery today as it prepared to half production, the company
said in a state report. Production will be halted for weeks,
United Steelworkers union members who work at the plant said.
The process will cause gas flaring through March 27, the
company reported in a filing with the Texas Department of
Its an economic thing, said Steve Shellnut, a United
Steelworkers member and an operator on the refinerys water
treatment plant. Were starting to shut down some of the units
and theyre eventually planning on shutting everything down.
Its a scheduled shutdown.
Karen Grace, a spokeswoman for Total, declined to comment
on operations at the refinery. We adjust our operations to
what is going on in the market. We always adjust. But, its our
practice not to get into specifics. The shutdown, which includes an isomerization unit, will
take two to three days to complete, said Carl Sanders, a
machinist at the refinery. Well be shut for three to four
Isomerization units produce unleaded gasoline components.
Totals Port Arthur refinery can process 240,000 barrels of oil
a day, according to the U.S. Energy Department.