• Heavy Rain From Imelda Impacting Texas Refinery Ops: Reports

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    Flooding east and north of Houston from Tropical Depression Imelda has at least
    some chemical plant operations in the Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, regions
    shutting down on Thursday.

    ExxonMobil's chemical plant in Beaumont shut down its units, the company
    confirmed in a statement, adding that the refinery and chemical complex is
    conducting a preliminary assessment to determine the impact of the storm.

    "ExxonMobil continues preparations for severe weather at its Beaumont complex,"
    the statement said.

    "We are reaching out to our employees and their families to ensure they remain
    safe. We are communicating with federal, state and local emergency planning
    officials about measures we are taking to prepare for continued heavy rainfall."

    Reports earlier this morning said the refinery had told non-essential workers
    to stay home, according to market sources, and there were reports that oil
    processing operations were preparing to shut down.

    Valero, Motiva and Total, which operate refineries in Port Arthur, were also
    not immediately available for comment on the status of operations.

    Both gasoline and distillate spot prices in the U.S. Gulf Coast were seeing
    increases this morning, although much of that strength stemmed from futures
    advances.

    Prompt CBOB traded from 2.50cts up to 3cts above the November screen, up about
    a half penny from yesterday's mean. Prices jumped around 3cts to $1.6845/gal,
    taking back much of the drop from yesterday.

    Conventional gasoline and RBOB were slower to move, holding closer to Wednesday
    levels with differentials at 6.25cts and 1.50cts above November futures,
    respectively. Likewise, cash prices jumped 2.50-2.70cts, with conventional
    gasoline at $1.7173/gal and RBOB pricing $1.6698/gal.

    Distillate spot prices in the region were running higher this morning as well.

    Prompt Cycle 54 ultra-low-sulfur diesel saw its basis firm by 0.20cts/gal, with
    barrels heard trading at 3.50cts/gal beneath October NYMEX ULSD futures. OPIS
    notes that Cycle 54 ULSD schedules into Colonial Pipeline today, and that
    shifts in basis are not uncommon on scheduling days. As of presstime, implied
    prices were up more than three pennies, to approximately $1.97/gal.

    Heavy rain from Tropical Depression Imelda inundated parts of eastern Texas
    overnight, resulting in flooding and prompted evacuations. The Beaumont region
    experienced rainfall of some 20 inches over 12 hours, according to Weather
    Underground meteorologists, while there were also reports of 30-35 inches from
    the Jefferson County Drainage District.

    --Rachel Stroud-Goodrich, rstroud-goodrich@opisnet.com
    --Cory Wilchek, cwilchek@opisnet.com
    --Beth Heinsohn, bheinsohn@opisnet.com




    Copyright, Oil Price Information Service

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