UpdateInvestigation begins into fire at US Marathon refinery

01 March 2013 16:23  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--An investigation is underway to determine what caused a hose leading to a tank pump to catch fire at Marathon’s Galveston Bay Refinery, a company spokesperson said on Friday.

Equipment at the Texas City, Texas, site will be pulled and inspections conducted into what caused Thursday’s blaze, said Shane Pochard, communications manager for Marathon. Standard tests on the air quality at and around the site also will be conducted, he said.

Firefighters were able to get extinguish the blaze by early Thursday evening. No injuries were reported, and no off-site impacts occurred, Pochard said.

Marathon would not comment on whether operations were affected, but the incident did lead to a spike in the benzene spot market, according to traders.

Benzene spot prices were discussed at $4.65-4.68/gal (€3.58-3.60/gal) FOB (free on board) late Thursday afternoon after news broke of the fire. The spot price range was up from $4.58-4.62/gal FOB on Wednesday.

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

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

($1 = €0.77)

Additional reporting by Brian Balboa

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