Chevron Refinery Fire in Mississippi Leaves One Person Dead

Chevron Corp. had a detonation and fire in a furnace in the “cracking 2 area” at its Pascagoula refinery in Mississippi that caused the death of one worker.

The detonation took place at 2 a.m. local time in the furnace of a reformate splitter unit at the 330,000-barrel-a-day plant on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, and the subsequent fire took about an hour to put out, Tom Kovar, general manager of the refinery, said in a press conference today at the site. Damage was contained to a relatively small area, he said.

Conventional 85.5-octane gasoline, or CBOB, on the Gulf Coast gained 3 cents to a discount of 15.25 cents a gallon below New York Mercantile Exchange futures at 12:11 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The cracking 2 unit has been shut, Terry Jackson, Jackson County deputy director of emergency services, said by phone. The rest of the refinery isn’t shut, he said. Chevron was restarting a 55,000-barrel-a-day catalytic reformer at the time of the incident and halted the startup, according to Genscape Inc., a Louisville, Kentucky-based energy information provider.

Refinery personnel responded to the fire and secured the site, Glaubitz said. He wouldn’t say whether the fire is out or whether any portion of the refinery has been shut down in response. Allison Cook, a Pascagoula-based spokeswoman for the company, identified the location of the fire in a message on a community hot line.

The refinery produces 130,000 barrels of gasoline, 68,000 barrels of diesel and 50,000 barrels of jet fuel a day, according to a company website. It also produces bunker fuel, liquefied petroleum gases and other products.

The plant processes heavy, high-sulfur crude. In August, it imported 278,000 barrels of oil a day from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. Two of its shipments from Colombia were the highest-density crudes imported to the U.S. that month, according to Energy Information Administration data.

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