Exxon Says Baytown Refinery Remains at Reduced Rates after Fire

Reuters, December 28, 2021

Exxon Mobil Corp said on Monday its Baytown, Texas, refinery continued to operate at reduced rates following a fire on Dec. 23, and the unit involved remained shut down.

The company has not yet determined the cause of the fire, but said it was continuing to empty the unit so it could safely enter the facility and assess the possible impact on production.

A filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said the fire occurred at the facility's Hydro Desulfurization Unit 1.

Exxon's Baytown facility is home to a chemical plant, an olefins plant and the country's fourth-biggest oil refinery, with capacity to process 560,500 barrels per day of crude.

Four workers were hospitalized as a result of the incident, two of whom were confirmed to have been released from the hospital. Exxon declined to provide an update on the status of the other injured workers.

A group of nearby homeowners who said their houses were destroyed by the fire have filed a lawsuit against Exxon. The suit asks a Texas court to restrain the company from altering, destroying or modifying evidence relevant to the explosion until the plaintiffs' counsel can conduct its own inspection.

The lawsuit says Texas officials have condemned the damaged homes.

Exxon said it was reviewing the lawsuit and that it had set up an information and claims line for community members affected by the incident.

(Reporting by Liz Hampton; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Matthew Lewis)

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