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Refinery news: Baytown's operations impacted after fire

London — Operations at the third-largest refinery in the US have been affected after a major fire at a furnace at ExxonMobil's 563,000 b/d Baytown, Texas, facility on Saturday.

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Industry sources said they expected the news to prove bullish for the global gasoline and naphtha markets.

On Monday, benchmark USGC CBOB traded at the NYMEX April RBOB futures contract minus 10 cents/gal after S&P Global Platts assessed it at the front-month futures contract minus 11 cents/gal on Friday.

A spokeswoman at ExxonMobil declined to comment on the status of the plant's units.

"We are cooperating with necessary regulatory agencies, and a thorough investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of this incident. We deeply regret any disruption or inconvenience that this incident may have caused the community," the spokeswoman said.

"It is not our practice to discuss the status of individual units. We expect to meet our contractual commitments," she added.

The Baytown facility also has an olefins plant, which includes an ethane cracker with a capacity of 1.5 million mt/year.

In a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, ExxonMobil said a furnace fire resulted in emissions to the atmosphere.

It added that operational adjustments had temporarily reduced flare gas recovery capacity, resulting in safe utilization of the flare system. ExxonMobil also said that the furnace was isolated and the unit was shut down.

In January, the refinery carried out maintenance allowing it to process lighter and sweeter crude and increased its production of jet fuel.

ExxonMobil is looking to expand light, sweet crude processing capacity by 250,000 b/d at its 365,644 b/d Beaumont, Texas, refinery. A final investment decision is expected in the first quarter.

-- Eklavya Gupte, eklavya.gupte@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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