September 2, 2017 / 10:41 PM / a year ago

Exxon restarting second-largest U.S. refinery

HOUSTON (Reuters) - ExxonMobil Corp (XOM.N) was restarting its Baytown, Texas, refinery, the nation’s second largest, on Saturday six days after it was shut because of heavy rain from Tropical Storm Harvey.

FILE PHOTO - A view of the Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, Texas September 15, 2008. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

The company said it began initial restart of the 560,500 barrel per day (bpd) Baytown refinery on Friday night.

Sources familiar with plant operations said the refinery was preparing to resume production but it was unknown when production would resume.

Exxon spokeswoman Charlotte Huffaker said an initial assessment revealed only minor repairs were needed at Baytown.

“We are making good progress on restart activities,” Huffaker said. “Timing on when operations can resume to normal will largely depend on the availability of transportation infrastructure.

“We are working with the Port of Houston to expedite vessels through the Houston Ship Channel and we are coordinating with railroads to help facilitate necessary repairs.”

The sources said the closure of the upper Houston Ship Channel has not only cut off waterborne crude shipments from coming in but refined products shipment from going out along the waterway to the Gulf of Mexico.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Bill Trott

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