June 2, 2006 at 8:45 pm #4192
HOUSTON, June 1 (Reuters) – Tanker shipping to three Texas refineries was shut on Thursday as crews cleaned up oil spilled after a containment tank was struck by lightning at a Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery dock.
Flint Hills Resources LP declined to discuss possible impact on production at its 288,000 barrel per day (bpd) Corpus Christi refinery.
A spokeswoman for Valero Energy Corp. said she had no information immediately available about plant operations.
A Citgo spokesman said the refinery was operating and not affected by the port shutdown at the company’s 156,000 bpd refinery. Citgo reduced production rates at the refinery over the weekend due to equipment problems.
NYMEX traders took note of the Corpus Christi problems, but said gasoline futures prices on Thursday were not affected by the port closure and were instead driven by a U.S. government report on oil and gasoline inventories.
“Once the Corpus Christi situation clarified itself, worries over the smallish gasoline inventory build eased,” said John Kilduff, senior vice president, energy risk management, Fimat USA. “And crude supply built despite refinery use increasing last week.”
However, rumors circulated throughout the day about partial or complete shutdown of each of the refineries.
Most refineries have several days’ supply of crude oil on hand. The Corpus Christi refineries ship their products through pipelines.
A containment tank at Valero’s Corpus Christi 38,000 barrel per day (bpd) west refinery was hit by lightning at 1 a.m. CDT (0600 GMT) on Thursday, causing a fire and spill of 250 barrels of runoff oil and water into the inner Corpus Christi harbor, said Port Authority Deputy Operations Director Tony Alejandro.
“We dodged a bullet,” Alejandro said. “There was a tanker right nearby the fire.”
The fire was put out within three hours but an oily sheen with pockets of oil spread through part of the inner harbor, he said.
Rains from the storms that triggered the lightning led to a 50-gallon spill from the nearby 156,000 bpd Citgo refinery later in the morning, Citgo said in a statement. That affected the other part of the inner harbor.
Containment booms prevented oil from spreading to Corpus Christi Bay, Alejandro said, but the cleanup effort also shut tanker traffic to the refineries.
“We’re trying to open the channel,” Alejandro said. “We’ll be lucky if we get it done by this evening.”
The storms also affected steam supply to the Citgo and Flint Hills refineries when Calpine Corp.’s 537 megawatt power plant was knocked off line in part due to the storm at 3:30 a.m. CDT (0830 GMT).
The Flint Hills refinery has crude processing capacity of 288,000 bpd.
Steam was restored to Citgo plant at 6:30 a.m. CDT (1130 GMT), Calpine said.
Two ships were prevented from leaving the port of Corpus Christi and four ships were blocked from entering the port bye the spill, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
June 5, 2006 at 10:48 pm #7593
Storm doesn’t have to be a Hurricane to impact the Gulf Coast Refineries – all 3 of the corpus refineries have cokers & collectively represent about 3600 TPD of petcoke production.
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