September 5, 2018 / 12:45 AM / 2 months ago

Louisiana refineries plan to keep running as storm shifts east

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Seven refineries in eastern Louisiana plan to continue normal operations while keeping a careful eye on Tropical Storm Gordon, whose forecast path moved eastward on Tuesday with landfall in Mississippi, said sources familiar with plant operations.

Being west of the storm, the refineries should be on the side of Gordon producing the least rain and wind, though all of the plants have prepared for high wind and possible flooding.

At PBF Energy’s 190,000 bpd Chalmette, Louisiana, refinery, which is 72 miles (116 km) west of Biloxi, Mississippi, where Gordon is forecast to make landfall, scaffolding erected for planned maintenance has been removed until the storm ends, sources familiar with plant operations said.

No change in operations were planned at the Chalmette refinery, the sources said.

A PBF spokesman declined to discuss operations at the plant.

The Valero Energy Corp 125,000 bpd plant in Meraux, Louisiana, also plans to keep running as usual overnight and into Wednesday.

“Business as usual,” said a source familiar with plant operations at the Meraux refinery.

A Valero spokeswoman did not reply to a request for comment about operations at Meraux.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s refineries in Convent and Norco, Louisiana, are prepared for high wind and rain, a company spokesman said.

Operations at the 502,500 bpd Exxon Mobil Corp refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were normal on Tuesday, said Exxon spokeswoman Sarah Nordin.

The company has activated its storm preparedness plan for the refinery and adjoining chemical plant, Nordin said.

Production is expected to continue normally overnight and into Wednesday at the Baton Rouge complex, said sources familiar with plant operations.

Phillips 66’s 247,000 bpd refinery in Alliance, Louisiana, was operating normally on Tuesday, a company spokesman said.

A spokesman for Marathon Petroleum Corp declined to discuss operations at the company’s at the company’s 556,000 bpd Garyville, Louisiana, refinery.

Gulf Coast market sources said they expected the Marathon refinery to keep operating.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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