Valero shuts Meraux refinery in Louisiana after fire

By Ben DuBose
Online Editor

HOUSTON -- A fire broke out early Sunday in a crude unit exchanger at Valero's 125,000 bpd refinery in Meraux, La., company spokesman Bill Day said, leading to the the shutdown of the entire facility.

All units will remain down while repairs are made to the crude unit and related utilities, Day said on Monday.

Valero did not give a timetable for repairs or the refinery’s potential restart.

"A full damage assessment is still underway at the Meraux refinery," the spokesman said.

The exchanger caught fire at about 1:30 a.m. local time on Sunday, according to a report filed with the US National Response Center.

"It is believed that it was leaking crude oil," the report said.

The fire was extinguished on Sunday with no injuries.

The Meraux refinery can process medium sour crude oil and produces premium products, according to local media reports.

Valero bought the Meraux refinery from Murphy Oil in late 2011 for about $625 million.

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