Fire Strikes Shell's Deer Park Refinery Thursday Morning

Reuters, August 17, 2017

Royal Dutch Shell Plc extinguished a fire on Thursday morning at its 325,700 barrel-per-day (bpd) joint-venture Deer Park, Texas, refinery, company spokesman Ray Fisher said. Energy industry intelligence service Genscape said the 270,000 bpd DU-2 crude distillation unit, the larger of two at the refinery, was shut following the blaze on Thursday morning. No injuries were reported due to the fire and all personnel were accounted for, Fisher said shortly after 9 a.m. CDT (1400 GMT). The fire broke out at 8 a.m. CDT.

"Site personnel are working to stabilize the situation," he said.

Sources familiar with plant operations said there was a level 2 alert at the refinery while personnel were shutting down DU-2 and stabilizing other units. The fire broke out on the DU-2 CDU, the sources said. Genscape also said the 115,000 bpd VF-2 vacuum distillation unit was shut at the refinery.

During the fire, employees and contractors at the Deer Park refining and petrochemical complex were required to shelter in place. The Deer Park refinery is co-owned by Shell and Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Mexico's national oil company.

CDUs do the initial refining of crude oil coming into the refinery and provide feedstock for all other units. They operate at atmospheric pressure. Vacuum distillation units increase the yield from a barrel of oil by refining residual crude from a CDU at vacuum pressure.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Bernadette Baum and James Dalgleish)

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