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Motiva shuts Texas refinery unit after blast


Tue Dec 8, 2009 1:39pm EST

HOUSTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – A hydrogen plant operated by Praxair Inc (PX.N) at Motiva Enterprises’s 285,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery was shut on Tuesday after an explosion, according to a Praxair spokeswoman.

No injuries were reported among Praxair employees after the blast, said Susan Szita-Gore, company spokeswoman.

“I understand it was a pretty big bang,” Szita-Gore said.

No injuries were reported among Motiva employees following the malfucntion, which was reported to Port Arthur police and fire departments.

Sources familiar with refinery operations said a hydrogen line ruptured on the unit.

Refiners have switched to having third-party providers produce hydrogen increasingly used in the refining of cheaper heavy, sour crude oils in motor fuels that meet strict U.S. environmental standards.

Motiva is a joint-venture between Saudi Refining and Shell Oil Co, the U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L).

(Reporting by Erwin Seba and Kristen Hays; Editing by David Gregorio)

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