Houston Ship Channel Partially Closed; Tankers Stopped at 4 Refineries

Reuters, September 6, 2016

Four Houston-area refineries were unable to receive crude oil from tankers on Tuesday after a portion of the Houston Ship Channel was shut due to a fire aboard an empty tanker, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

In Texas, Valero Energy Corp's Houston refinery, LyondellBasell Industries' Houston refinery, Petrobras' Pasadena refinery and Royal Dutch Shell's joint-venture Deer Park refinery have crude on-site in storage tanks and also have access to long-distance and short-haul pipeline systems.

The four refineries have a combined crude oil throughput of 761,505 barrels per day (bpd), equal to 4 percent of U.S. refining capacity.

The Coast Guard was conducting assessments about how long it would take to move the Aframax River, an 810-foot (247-meter) tanker, that caught fire early Tuesday near the Intercontinental Terminals Co, the maritime safety agency said.

The fire, which originated in a punctured bunker tank, was extinguished and no injuries were reported, the Coast Guard said.

The channel remained closed to vessel traffic for 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of the Battleship Texas State Historic site, between the Cargill facility and the Cemex dock, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard said four ships were waiting to exit the channel and five were waiting to enter on Tuesday morning.

Tankers were able to move to and from Exxon Mobil Corp's 560,500-bpd Baytown refinery, the Coast Guard said.

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(Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Additonal reporting by Erwin Seba in Houston; Editing by W Simon and JS Benkoe)

Copyright 2018 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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