BP reports hydrotreater fire at Texas City refinery


HOUSTON -- BP said a fire that broke out at its Texas City, Texas, refinery was extinguished Tuesday afternoon after a burning for little over an hour and a half.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said that the fire occurred in one section of the residual hydrotreater unit, and company personnel are responding. Mr. Dean said that all workers around the unit were safely evacuated, and there have been no reports of injuries.

The hydrotreater where the fire broke was down as a result, but the refinery's other units were running and producing refined products, Mr. Dean said.

The fire began at 1:30 p.m. CDT and was put out at 3:05 p.m., Mr. Dean said.

The plant is one of the largest refineries in the country, with capacity to process 400,780 bpd of crude oil, according to the US Energy Information Administration. It was the site of a deadly 2005 explosion that killed 15 people.

Earlier this month, Marathon Petroleum agreed to buy the refinery along with associated pipelines and other infrastructure for $598 million, plus an additional $1.2 billion for oil inventories already at the site.

Marathon also agreed to pay BP up to $700 million over the next six years based on future margins and throughput at the plant.

Investors reacted positively to the news, with Marathon's share price rising 5% after the announcement was made. Rich Bedell, the company's senior vice president for refining, said in a conference call accompanying the purchase announcement that "the plant is a very different place than it was in 2005."

"BP has gone through a significant refurbishment of the plant and reconfiguration but also has really worked to instill a safety culture in that refinery," he told analysts on the call.

The purchase is expected to close early next year.

Dow Jones Newswires

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