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Exxon cuts Baytown refinery rates after extinguishing fire



Exxon Mobil Corp says an overnight fire at its Baytown, Texas, refinery that injured four people has been extinguished.
The blaze occurred at 1 am local time at the plant, which is the fourth-largest in the US, capable of processing more than half a million barrels of oil a day. Gasoline trading in New York jumped as much as 4 cents per gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The fire at units involved in gasoline production comes as US stockpiles of the fuel hit their lowest for this time of year since 2015. Gasoline futures, meanwhile, are at their highest seasonally in eight years. Prices rose 1.8% to settle at $2.2061 per gallon in New York.
The blaze broke out in a unit called a reformer feed hydrotreater, according to Wood Mackenzie’s Genscape unit. Other units impacted include a toluene benzene unit and a nearby cooling tower, according to a person familiar with operations.
Reformer feed hydrotreaters remove sulfur from partially refined oil to help the finished gasoline meet clean-air rules. The units process feedstock used by reformers to make high-octane gasoline. The toluene unit extracts aromatics from feed sent to it by the reformer. If the fire impact is prolonged, it could affect prices of premium gasoline.
Exxon spokeswoman Julie King said Baytown is adjusting rates at other Baytown facilities to focus on stabilizing the affected units, but did not discuss the impact on fuel production.
The injured workers are in stable condition after being transferred to a local hospital, said Casey Cook, a public information officer at the Baytown Fire Department.

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