Small fire erupts at Marathon Oil

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Editor and Publisher

GARYVILLE – A small fire at the Marathon Oil refinery on Thursday was quickly extinguished, with oil production resuming within an hour, according to a Marathon spokesperson.

The fire in the cat cracker unit at the refinery erupted at about 11 a.m., according to Human Resources Manager Bob Kasubinski, but was put out by the refinery emergency response team.

There were no injuries and production of the crude oil continued quickly, he added.

Although some media reports in the area suggested an impact on summer gas prices, a national spokesman for Marathon said he did not see that being a possibility.

&#8220The incident at Marathon was an incredibly brief blip in our operations,” Robert Calmus of public affairs reported. &#8220It should have no long term effect on the price of gasoline. The problem was correctly quickly and our production is back to normal.”

Marathon has seven refineries nationally and is the fifth largest producer of crude in the United States, with a total of 974,000 barrels of oil processed daily. At the Garyville plant, there are 245,000 barrels produced per day.

The fire was small in nature, according to Kasubinski, and started due to a leak in the heat exchanger.

&#8220We have a lot of training to be prepared for anything like this, and our employees handled it extremely well,” Kasubinski added. &#8220The fire was out in a matter of minutes.”

St. John officials were informed of the fire as well, he said.

Calmus was surprised that any media connected the small fire to the possibility of higher gas prices.

&#8220I guess the fact that any media even reported such a possibility shows how much concern we all have about the price of gas. And there was a brief blip on the futures pricing, but it correctly quickly. We just don’t see any long term effects on the price of gas from something this small,” he stated.