U.S. News

One worker injured in fire at Valero's Meraux, Louisiana, refinery

HOUSTON (Reuters) - One worker was injured in a fire at Valero Energy Corp’s 125,000 barrel-per-day Meraux, Louisiana, refinery early Friday morning, a company spokeswoman said.

Valero spokeswoman Lillian Riojas said the injured worker was taken to a local hospital. The extent of the person’s injuries was unknown. All other workers at the refinery were accounted for.

Energy industry intelligence service Genscape said the refinery was shut at about the time the fire broke out, shortly before 1 a.m. CDT (0600 GMT).

The fire broke out in the refinery’s hydrocracker, said sources familiar with plant operations. The hydrocracker converts gas oil into motor fuels, primarily diesel.

Riojas said the fire was contained to the area where it broke out.

WWL-TV in New Orleans reported that the fire began with an explosion that was felt up to 7 miles (11 km) away.

Valero is the second-largest refiner in the United States, operating 13 refineries with a combined crude oil processing capacity of 2.2 million bpd, 11.6% of the national total.

Valero has reduced production at at least seven of its U.S. refineries. The company also operates a refinery in Quebec and one in Wales.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Leslie Adler and Rosalba O’Brien