May 23, 2019 / 6:51 PM / a month ago

Heavy rains limit operations at Oklahoma refinery, oil pipeline

(Reuters) - Heavy rains and storms slamming the central United States forced the closure of a HollyFrontier Corp refinery in Oklahoma and a portion of Tallgrass Energy LP’s crude oil pipeline on Thursday.

Severe weather in the central United States has left three people dead on Thursday, local media said, as tornadoes raked across southwest Missouri and devastated the state capital, and heavy rain flooded rivers in Oklahoma.

The Midwest region has been hit with rain throughout the spring, disrupting supply and demand of refined products in the region, while ongoing refinery maintenance has scrambled market conditions further.

Refining operations were at less than 83% of capacity in the most recent week, according to the U.S. Energy Department, lowest seasonally since 2013.

HollyFrontier said it temporarily shut operations at its 155,300-barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in Tulsa, Oklahoma due to high water.

Meanwhile, Denver-based Tallgrass Energy LP shut a segment of its 760-mile Pony Express crude oil pipeline. The segment shut runs from Sterling, Colorado to Cushing, Oklahoma, the company said.

The pipeline, which has a capacity of 320,000 bpd, flows from Wyoming through Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas, connecting with three refineries before terminating in Cushing, according to the company website.

Phillips 66, meanwhile, said there were no operational impacts due to weather at its 206,000-bpd Ponca City, Oklahoma refinery.

A system of showers stretching from the Texas and western Oklahoma north to Nebraska would bring flooding risks on Thursday, said meteorologist Mark Chenard of the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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