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Fire out at Valero Port Arthur refinery; small HCU shut

A fire on the small hydrocracking unit (HCU) was extinguished on Thursday afternoon at Valero Energy Corp’s 335,000-barrel-per-day Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, people familiar with plant operations said.

The fire, which broke out at about noon CDT (1700 GMT), shut the 45,000-bpd 942 HCU at the refinery, the people said.

Valero did not reply to a request for comment.

All personnel at the refinery have been accounted for, the people said. There were no reports of injuries.

The fire started after a seal on a hydrocracker charge pump blew out, the sources said. Because both volatile hydrocarbons and hydrogen are present in an HCU, fires on those units pose a risk of large explosions.

A hydrocracker makes diesel and other motor fuels from gas oil, or other feedstocks, by using hydrogen and a catalyst under high heat and pressure.

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