Lightning leads to shutdown, fires at Motiva US refinery

Author: Ben Dubose

2009/03/27

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A lightning storm led to the temporary shutdown this week of several production units as well as two small fires at the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, US Shell said on Friday in a statement.

"There were no injuries nor any major equipment damage that we are aware of at this time,” Shell said in a statement about Wednesday night’s storm.

“There was a partial shutdown of several process units as a result of this incident. Damages are being assessed at this time, and units are being prepared for restart," Shell said.

The Motiva refinery, which can convert approximately 275,000 bbl/day of crude oil, is a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Aramco. The refinery is the largest US producer of lubricant base oils.

Shell spokeswoman Robin Lebovitz said the company did not anticipate issuing any further updates on Friday.

The plant shut down several units as a precaution due to the lightning. During the shutdown process, leaks in the reboiler heater tubes and the recycle hydrogen flange led to the fires, with damage contained to one reformer, according to a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The local fire department was called to the scene to extinguish the fires, according to the filing.

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