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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Erwin Seba News

Houston Ship Channel Shut on Tuesday Morning for Salvage

The Houston Ship Channel was shut on Tuesday morning to raise a fishing vessel that sank in mid-January near the waterway's entrance in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Houston ship pilots association.The ship channel, a 53-mile (85 km) waterway connecting the busiest U.S. petrochemical port with the Gulf of Mexico, is scheduled to reopen at 10 a.m. local time (1600 GMT) on Tuesday, according to Houston Pilots, the ship pilots association.Two people aboard the 81-foot (25…

Vessel Traffic Halted on Beaumont Ship Channel

Ship pilots stopped moving vessels along the Beaumont, Texas, Ship Channel due to severe weather caused by Tropical Storm Imelda, said the U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday.Imelda, officially downgraded to a tropical depression, dumped 24 inches (61 CM) of rain on east Texas is the past 24 hours, closing Exxon Mobil Corp's Beaumont refinery and chemical plant. (Reporting by Erwin Seba; editing by David Evans)

An aerial view of the houston Refining complex (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Irina K)

Fire Erupts at Exxon's Baytown complex; 37 Hurt

Exxon Mobil Corp said it was fighting a fire that erupted on Wednesday at its Baytown, Texas, refining and chemical plant complex injuring 37 people and sending nearby residents indoors.As many as 37 people were being treated for non-life threatening injuries amid efforts to put out the fire, according to Exxon spokeswoman Sarah Nordin. Available air monitoring information showed "no adverse impact at this time," she said.More than three dozen people were treated for minor burns, none requiring hospitalization, said plant manager Jason Duncan in an afternoon media briefing.

© bluedesign/Adobe Stock

Fuel Futures: Diesel Will Spike on IMO2020

New marine fuel rules to boost diesel prices for at least a year -analystsGlobal prices for diesel and marine fuels should rise by October ahead of a January switchover to new, very low-sulfur marine fuels, and remain higher for at least a year as refiners shift production to make more of the new fuels, analysts said.Marine fuels containing no more than 0.5% sulfur by weight, down from the 3.5% currently used, to power ocean-going vessels will be required for ships without exhaust scrubbers on Jan.

A file image of a typical Kirby pushboat and barge. CREDIT: Kirby Corporation

Houston Port Restrictions Could Last All Week

The Houston Ship Channel could remain under one-way travel restrictions all week following a collision between a deep-draft ship and a barge that spilled petrochemicals into the waterway, according to an official.About 9,000 barrels of gasoline spilled into the channel near Bayport, Texas, when a 755-foot (230-m) tanker collided with a Kirby Inland Marine tugboat towing two barges containing the fuel. One barge ruptured and the other capsized.The U.S. Coast Guard limited travel to one-way traffic because barges blocked part of the channel.

File Image: AdobeStock / © ricardo Arata

Companies Sue Valero for Bad Marine Fuel

Two companies filled lawsuits this week in federal courts in Texas alleging that ships they operated in 2018 were damaged by contaminated bunker fuel sold by a Valero Energy Co subsidiary Valero Marketing and Supply Co, according to court documents.A Valero spokeswoman did not reply to a request for comment.The National Shipping Co of Saudi Arabia said it paid out more than $1.1 million for repairs and replacement fuel for a ship that drifted at sea for two days before restarting and arriving at Alexandria…

TX Refineries Cut Output as Spill Curbs Shipping

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and LyondellBasell Industries cut production on Monday at their Houston-area oil refineries because of shipping disruptions along a waterway affected by a petrochemical fire and spill, according to people familiar with the matter.A fire and fuel leak at Mitsui & Co Inc's Intercontinental Terminals Co (ITC) storage facility in Deer Park, Texas, last week sent gasoline, water and fire suppressant foam into the Houston Ship Channel, which connects Houston to the Gulf of Mexico, and is home to nine oil refineries.The U.S.

The Houston Ship Channel and Refining complex (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Irina K

Houston Ship Channel Reopened

The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday reopened portions of the Houston Ship Channel with restrictions on waterways affected by the petrochemical leak outside Houston that has disrupted ship traffic.The busiest U.S. oil port, shut last Friday after a chemical leak into the water, led Royal Dutch Shell Plc and LyondellBasell Industries to cut production on Monday, according to people familiar with their operations.In a midday announcement, the Coast Guard said it is allowing daytime transits only through the ship channel…

File Image: an aerial view of the port of Houston petrochemical refining complex. CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Irina K

Air Quality Monitored as TX Tank Blaze Rages

Houston officials and environmental groups raced to expand air monitoring on Tuesday after a raging fire at a Mitsui & Co petrochemical storage site produced billowing acrid smoke that could be seen and smelled miles away.The blaze at Mitsui unit Intercontinental Terminals Co in Deer Park, Texas, burned for a third day after firefighting water pumps broke down for six hours on Monday evening, the company said.The fire began on Sunday when a leaking tank containing volatile naphtha ignited and flames quickly spread to nearby tanks…

File Image: The port of HoustonRefining complex (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Irina K)

Houston Tank Fire Spreads to More Tanks

A storage tank fire on the Houston Ship Channel on Sunday has spread to seven petrochemical storage tanks, forcing residents in the suburb of Deer Park, Texas, to stay indoors on Monday, but no evacuations or injuries were reported.The fire, which sent a plume of black smoke across the city's eastern half and was visible from 10 miles (16 km) away , began in a giant storage tank containing naphtha, a volatile component of gasoline, at about 10:30 a.m. (1530 GMT) on Sunday.By evening…

Marathon Galveston Bay Contractor Feared Drowned

A contractor was feared drowned after falling into the Port of Texas City, Texas, when scaffolding supporting him collapsed at the Marathon Petroleum Corp Galveston Bay refinery dock, a Texas City official said. "Divers are en route to do a body recovery," Derek Duckett, director of emergency management for Texas City, said on Monday. Part of the scaffolding fell at about 11:30 a.m. CDT (1630 GMT) Monday and the worker has not been seen since, Duckett said. "I heard part of the scaffolding fell and he was tied to it," Duckett said.

Houston Ship Channel Re-opens to Some Vessel Traffic

The Houston Ship Channel re-opened to some vessel traffic on Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard said, after an early morning tanker fire prompted closure of the waterway. The U.S. Coast Guard Houston Vessel Traffic Service said it would commence with tow vessel transit outbound from Old River and San Jacinto River. That would be followed by inbound movements, it said. The Houston Ship Channel links the busiest U.S. petrochemical port to the Gulf of Mexico. Four Houston-area…

Workers at Largest U.S. Refinery OK Deal

More than 700 union workers at the largest U.S. refinery unanimously approved a new contract in a vote at their union hall in Port Arthur, Texas, on Tuesday night, said union officials. The United Steelworkers union (USW) also said workers at three Tesoro Corp refineries on the West Coast were making progress in finalizing contracts. Return-to-work agreements, usually the final step before ratification votes, were under discussion. USW members at the Motiva Enterprises Port Arthur, Texas, refinery walked off their jobs on Feb. 21 as part of the nation's largest refinery strike in 35 years.

Union: Tentative Pact will End U.S. Refinery Strike

The United Steelworkers union and oil companies have reached a tentative deal to end the largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years, the labor group and people familiar with the negotiations said on Thursday. The new agreement for about 30,000 workers would last four years, a year longer than previous agreements. The deal, which still needs to be ratified, may not end strikes right away at all refineries that have suffered walkouts as local union chapters could still need to work out pending issues.

Tensions Flare at Refinery Picket Lines

Personal friendships are turning sour as some workers cross picket lines in the lingering U.S. refinery strike, with companies pushing laborers to return to work by saying they could lose their bonuses. A month into the biggest U.S. refinery walkout in 35 years, money is tight as strike pay from the United Steelworkers union is a fraction of normal wages. About 6,550 workers are on strike at 15 plants, including 12 refineries with a fifth of U.S. capacity. Companies are relying on temporary replacements to keep plants open.

Union Chief: U.S. Refinery Strike Could Spread

The largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years could spread if talks over improved safety conditions do not resume soon, United Steelworkers union (USW) International President Leo Gerard said on Tuesday. A total of 6,550 USW members are on strike at 15 plants, including 12 refineries accounting for one-fifth of U.S. capacity. Union members work at more than 200 oil terminals, pipelines, refineries and chemical plants in the U.S. The USW has said it is seeking to retain safety provisions from previous contracts and tighten fatigue standards for workers…

Refinery Strike Talks Unlikely This Week

Talks to end the largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years are not expected to resume this week, sources familiar with the negotiations said on Monday after the number of plants hit by walkouts increased over the weekend. Face-to-face meetings between the United Steelworkers union (USW) and lead refinery owner representative Shell Oil Co, the U.S. arm of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, might remain on hold until the second week of March, the sources said. The halt in talks comes after the…

Refinery Strike Affects One-Fifth of U.S. Capacity

The largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years entered its fourth week on Sunday as workers at 12 refineries accounting for one-fifth of national production capacity were walking picket lines. Sources familiar with the negotiations said talks may resume by mid-week to end the walkout by 6,550 members of the United Steelworkers union (USW) at 15 plants, including the 12 refineries. Representatives of both sides said no date has been set to restart negotiations, however. The strike comes as U.S. workers seek more pay in a strengthening economy. Wal-Mart Stores Inc has said its U.S.

Union Rejects Oil Refinery Contract Offer

Union negotiators on Thursday rejected the latest contract offer from oil companies and said the largest U.S. refinery strike since 1980 may spread to more plants beyond the 11 where walkouts are underway. The United Steelworkers union (USW) said in a message to members and news media that the latest proposal from lead oil company negotiator Royal Dutch Shell Plc failed to improve safety at refineries and chemical plants in an "enforceable way." The union also told workers not on strike to be prepared to walk out in the coming days. Reporting by Erwin Seba

U.S. Refinery Strike in 18th Day as Talks Resume

The largest U.S refinery workers strike since 1980 passed its 18th day on Wednesday but talks between union and oil company representatives over safety and pay restarted after a gap of a week and went into the night, according to a union text message. More than 5,000 workers at 11 plants, including nine refineries accounting for 13 percent of U.S. production capacity, remained on strike on Wednesday. "Industry responded to the information request and engaged in discussions into the evening," the text message to United Steelworkers union (USW) members read. "Still miles apart.

Union, Shell in Prolonged Refinery Labor Talks

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and the United Steelworkers union (USW) negotiated for hours on Tuesday over a new labor contract for U.S. refinery workers, the company said on day 10 of the biggest refinery walkout since 1980. They have been unable to agree since this year's talks started on Jan. 21 on the size of wage increases and how to monitor worker fatigue, which is tied to accidents and can be handled through overtime pay or adding workers. Shell is the lead representative for oil companies at the negotiations for a three-year pact that would cover 30,000 workers at 63 plants.

Shell 'Optimistic' on U.S. Refinery Contract Talks

Lead industry negotiator Royal Dutch Shell Plc said on Thursday it was "optimistic" a new three-year agreement could be reached with a union representing hourly workers at 63 U.S. refineries that account for two-thirds of U.S. refining capacity. In a message to members, the United Steelworkers union (USW) did not share Shell's optimism, pointing to the approaching expiration of the current three-year agreement at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday in the time zone where each refinery is located. "Still no new offer from the industry," the USW message read. "Clock is ticking.

U.S. Refinery Contract Talks at Critical Stage

In five days of negotiations for a new three-year contract covering hourly workers at 63 U.S. refineries, the United Steelworkers union (USW) has sent only messages of frustration to its members. Twitter messages on Friday and Saturday said one industry offer had been rejected and the talks with lead industry negotiator Royal Dutch Shell Plc were moving slowly. On Sunday, the union said its members were being angered by the actions by some oil companies in talks over local issues. "Anger builds by USW members as oil companies play games at local tables," read Sunday's message.

U.S. Refinery Workers' Contract Talks Moving Slowly

With just a week of bargaining left until the national contract for U.S. refinery workers expires, the United Steelworkers union (USW) said talks with oil company representatives for a new pact were going slow, according to a Twitter message sent to members. "It's time for the industry to get serious about addressing issues that matter to USW members," the message said. The USW rejected the first industry proposal on Friday, calling it "inadequate and offensive," according to a message sent to members. A spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the lead negotiator for U.S.