Inspectioneering
News

ExxonMobil defends handling of Torrance refinery outage

Reuters, August 20, 2016
Reuters

ExxonMobil has defended its handling of an outage at its Los Angeles refinery following a blast in February 2015 after a prominent trading company told a state commission that the process had lacked transparency.

Speaking before a committee of the California Energy Commission on Tuesday, Brad Lucas, a West Coast trader for Vitol, said that lack of information about the restart of the refinery made it difficult to time cargo deliveries into the West Coast market.

Lucas said at the meeting that "In my opinion, there was a lack of transparency with what was going on with Torrance."

He said Exxon kept saying the Torrance refinery would come back online "next month".

The explosion at ExxonMobil's 149,500 barrel-per-day Torrance refinery, which provides about 10 percent of California's gasoline supply, knocked a gasoline-producing unit offline for more than a year.

The higher prices created an incentive for traders to import fuel into California, but only if they could gauge when prices might fall after a refinery restart.

"ExxonMobil is committed to the highest standards of business conduct and rejects these allegations," ExxonMobil said in an emailed statement on Thursday. "We have operated responsibly and in strict compliance with all laws."

Vitol said in a statement on Friday "there was a lack of clarity regarding the restart date for the refinery," but added that it had "never suggested the lack of clarity was the responsibility of ExxonMobil, nor that ExxonMobil mislead (stet) the market."

The meeting by the Commission's Petroleum Market Advisory Committee was to discuss gasoline price volatility and policy alternatives to mitigate price spikes.

PBF Energy acquired the Torrance facility from Exxon on July 1, 2016.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued subpoenas to refiners in the state in May as part of a probe into whether they manipulated gasoline prices since 2014.

In July 2015, refinery outages and tightened supplies pushed Los Angeles wholesale CARBOB gasoline prices to record levels of more than a $1.30 a gallon premium to the U.S. RBOB futures contract RBc1.

Kinder Morgan, which operates pipelines and terminals, also spoke at the hearing.

 

(Editing by Terry Wade and Matthew Lewis)
 

Click here to read the full article from Reuters.

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

Comments and Discussion

There are no comments yet.

Add a Comment

Please log in or register to participate in comments and discussions.

Interested in equipment reliability & integrity? Sign up for weekly updates.

Inspectioneering Journal

Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

Company Directory

Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

Job Postings

Discover job opportunities that match your skillset.

Case Studies

Learn from the experience of others in the industry.

Event Calendar

Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.

Industry News

Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.

Blog

Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

Acronyms

Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.

Asset Intelligence Reports

Download brief primers on various asset integrity management topics.

Videos

Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.

Expert Interviews

Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.