Industrial firefighters put out vacuum fire

Industrial fire

HMN-Reuters reports that operations and responders at the Shell Deer Park refinery put out a fire at the plants vacuum unit. No injuries have been reported.

HOUSTON (Reuters) – The largest crude distillation unit was shut on Thursday at Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s 325,700 barrel-per-day (bpd) joint-venture Deer Park, Texas, refinery by a fire on its vacuum unit, according to a regulatory filing.

The fire, which began shortly before 8 a.m. CDT (1300 GMT), forced workers at the sprawling complex housing the refinery to shelter-in-place, where they remained for more than an hour while Shell stabilized the refinery’s operations, said sources familiar with plant operations.

No injuries were reported and all personnel were accounted for, said Shell spokesman Ray Fisher.

Energy industry intelligence service Genscape said the 270,000-bpd DU-2 crude distillation unit, the larger of two at the refinery, was shut following the blaze.

DU-2’s 115,000-bpd VF-2 vacuum distillation unit, where a release of residue triggered the blaze, was also shut, according to a regulatory filing, which confirmed a Genscape report.

The Deer Park refinery is co-owned by Shell and Petroleos Mexicanos [PEMX.UL] (Pemex), Mexico’s national oil company.

CDUs do the initial refining of crude oil coming into the refinery and provide feedstock for all other units. They operate at atmospheric pressure.

Vacuum distillation units increase the yield from a barrel of oil by refining residual crude from a CDU at vacuum pressure.

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