ExxonMobil Refinery Rocked By Explosion

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Prices of CARBOB gas spiked after reports of an explosion at a California ExxonMobil refinery

Officials at an ExxonMobil refinery located in Torrance, Calif. put safety measures in place after an explosion damaged several structures. Local media captured dramatic aerial images of the destruction. In spite of what looks like extensive damage, only minor injuries have been reported so far, according to Jonathan Lloyd of NBC Los Angeles.

Homes rattled by Exxon explosion

The blast reportedly shook homes located as far as seven miles away from the Exxon refinery and ripped apart some of the structured located on the site. Aerial images show twisted metal and ash falling down on vehicles in the refinery’s parking lot.

Witnesses reported seeing a large flare-up shooting from the burn-off stack of the plant. The flare is actually a safety measure that’s meant to prevent explosions by dissipating pressure inside the stack.

Air quality not a concern

Although ExxonMobil officials have only confirmed that there was an “incident” at their refinery in Torrance, Calif., the Torrance Fire Dept. confirmed on social media that firefighters responded to an explosion there. There were earlier reports that shelter in place protocols were enacted, and school administrators in Torrance did enact those protocols due to concerns about air quality from the ash.

However, firefighters later said there was “no need to shelter in place.” They said there was no reason to be concerned about air quality issues from the explosion. Officials with the Southern California Air Quality Management District have already assessed the air quality and found that no chemicals were released in the explosion. They did, however, advice residents who live close to the refinery to remain indoors.

At this point it’s unclear exactly what caused the explosion. According to Karma Allen of CNBC, a spokesperson for the Torrance fire department told a local TV station that the explosion probably involved gasoline and that it occurred inside a processing facility. Reuters cited United Steelworkers treasurer and secretary David Campbell as saying that it happened near one of the refinery’s fluid catalytic cracking units.

ExxonMobil said its employees are working with the appropriate agencies to address it and investigate the cause.

Gas prices spike after Exxon report

Shares of ExxonMobil slipped after reports of the explosion in Torrance, falling as much as 2.38% to $90.84 per share. The refinery where the explosion happened sits on 750 acres and processes approximately 155,000 barrels of oil per day, according to an Exxon spokesperson.

The refinery is responsible for producing specially formulated gas that gives off low emissions and is sold in California, Nevada and Arizona. The oil giant also told CNBC that the Torrance location products almost 10% of all the gasoline sold in California.

Gas prices spiked after the explosion was reported. According to CNBC, CARBOB gasoline for March delivery in the wholesale market of Los Angeles spiked to 16 cents per gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That’s an increase of 8 cents from Tuesday’s closing price. CARBOB gasoline is required by the California Air Resources Board.

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