ExxonMobil restarts second largest US refinery after Hurricane Harvey

ExxonMobil has restarted its Baytown oil refinery in Texas, the second largest refinery in the US, six days after shutting down due to heavy rains caused by tropical storm Harvey.

The company said it began initial restart of the 560,500-barrel-per-day (bpd) Baytown refinery on the night of September 1 and the process is making progress.

Sources familiar with plant operations said the refinery was preparing to resume production but it was unknown when production would resume.

Exxon spokeswoman Charlotte Huffaker said an initial assessment revealed only minor repairs were needed at Baytown.

”We are making good progress on restart activities,”Huffaker said. ”Timing on when operations can resume to normal will largely depend on the availability of transportation infrastructure.

“We are working with the Port of Houston to expedite vessels through the Houston Ship Channel and we are coordinating with railroads to help facilitate necessary repairs.”

The sources said the closure of the upper Houston Ship Channel has not only cut off waterborne crude shipments from coming in but refined products shipment from going out along the waterway to the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, Exxon’s 362,300-bpd Beaumontrefinery in Texas remained shut on September 3 due to flooding in the lower part of the complex from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Exxon was restarting the Beaumont polyethylene plant because the portion of the refinery and chemical plant complex where it is located is dry, the company said.

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