UpdateFirefighters at Marathon refinery blaze; benzene market spikes

01 March 2013 00:14  [Source: ICIS news]

Firefighters work Marathon refinery blaze; benzene market spikesHOUSTON (ICIS)--Firefighters worked late Thursday afternoon to put out a blaze at Marathon’s Galveston Bay Refinery after a hose leading to a tank pump caught fire, a company spokesperson said.

No injuries were reported, and no off-site impacts occurred, said Shane Pochard, communications manager for Marathon.

Texas City Emergency Management (TCEM) officials responded to the fire at about 16:00 Houston time. Upon arrival, the TCEM reported that materials on the ground had caught fire, but the tank was not in flames.

Thick black smoke billowed up from the blaze, and firefighters worked to extinguish the fire with foam.

At 18:00, the TCEM reported that the "situation is stable" and that it would continue to monitor it.

Pochard had no comment on whether operations at the refinery had been affected.

However, news of the fire rippled through some markets late Thursday, with the US benzene spot market spiking.

The prompt March benzene spot market also moved up on the back of short cover positions.

Current benzene spot prices were discussed at $4.65-4.68/gal FOB (free on board) late Thursday afternoon. The spot price range was up from $4.58-4.62/gal FOB the previous day.

On 1 February, Marathon completed the purchase of the 475,000 bbl/day refinery from BP for approximately $598m (€454m), plus inventories estimated at $1.1bn.

The Texas City, Texas, refinery ranks as the third largest for processing capacity in the US.

Additional reporting by Brian Balboa

By: Jeremy Pafford
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