Lyondell extinguishes hydrotreater fire at Houston refinery

FILE PHOTO: An entrance sign at the LyondellBasell refinery, located near the Houston Ship Channel, is seen in Houston, Texas, U.S., May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Lyondell Basell Industries confirmed it extinguished a fire at a hydrotreater on Thursday morning at its 263,776-barrel-per-day (bpd) Houston refinery.

No injuries were reported from the fire, which broke out at about 5:30 a.m. CDT on Thursday (1030 GMT), Lyondell spokeswoman Chevalier Gray said.

Sources familiar with plant operations said the 49,000-bpd 634 cat feed/heavy gas oil hydrotreater was shut by the blaze. The extent of damage to the unit was unknown on Thursday.

The fire broke out after a sightglass on the unit broke, the sources said.

Gray did not identify the hydrotreater on which the fire broke out.

“A leak in one of the hydrotreater units occurred resulting in a fire that was quickly contained and extinguished within 30 minutes,” she said.

The refinery’s safety flares operated for about an hour and 15 minutes because of the fire, Gray said.

The hydrotreater uses hydrogen to remove sulfur from diesel to comply with U.S. environmental rules.

This is the second fire at the Lyondell refinery this year. A February fire shut the gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracker (FCC), which was repaired and returned to production in mid-April.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Dan Grebler and Richard Pullin