BP Texas City refinery fire investigated

Judy Clark
Senior Associate Editor

HOUSTON, Mar. 23 -- Officials are investigating the cause of a fire and explosion Mar. 23 at BP PLC's 446,500 b/cd Texas City refinery.

The blast, which killed 12 workers and injured more than 100, was contained within the plant's 24,300 b/cd isomerization unit and was extinguished within 3 hours, said BP Site Director Don Parus. An adjacent Dow Chemical Co. plant also sustained minor damage.

"Other units [of the 30-unit refinery] are in running position," said BP officials. The plant refines 3% of the total US petroleum products supply and 30% of BP's North American products output.

Gasoline futures prices jumped to an all-time high but quickly receded.

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