Gulf Refineries Remain Open After Attacks


Contrary to some media reports, base oil refiners said operations at facilities along the Gulf of Mexico were not altered in the wake of Tuesdays terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

At least two news organizations reported Tuesday that Gulf refineries might be closed as security precautions, either at the request of the federal government or of their own accord. But several major refiners said this morning that that was not the case.

We have not heard of any such request by the federal government and our operations have not been affected by the attacks yesterday, ExxonMobil spokesman Jeanne Miller said. ExxonMobil, the nations largest base oil producer, operates base oil refineries in Baytown and Beaumont, Texas, and Baton Rouge, La., with total capacity of 47,200 barrels per day.

Spokesmen for Citgo and Conoco, which operate refineries in Lake Charles and West Lake, La., respectively, said both facilities were operating normally. Citgo issued a statement aimed at dispelling rumors of shutdowns and said that, in the wake of the attacks, it is absolutely critical for refineries to continue supplying fuels and other petroleum products.

At least one company acknowledged heightening refinery security.

Crude oil prices eased after spiking Tuesday morning. Reuters reported that the price for London Brent Blend crude surged $3.60 to $31.05 per barrel shortly after the attacks began, but that price fell to $28.83 by this morning.

There were also news reports of skyrocketing gasoline prices, especially in the Midwest but a AAA spokesman downplayed these, as well.

So far as we can determine, these rumors appear to be completely unfounded or, at best, isolated situations that are quickly correcting themselves, National Director for Public Affairs Mantill Williams said this morning. There have also been reports of consumers lining up to buy gasoline. These events appear to be random and isolated. We want people to know that the terrible events of yesterday have nothing to do with the supply of oil or gasoline and that panic buying or pricing would be absolutely irresponsible.

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