LONDON - UK Gasoline Unit May Shut for Weeks : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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UK Gasoline Unit May Shut for Weeks

June 15, 2000

London (Reuters) - BP Amoco said yesterday that a fire-hit gasoline manufacturing plant at the oil company's 205,000 bpd refinery in Grangemouth, Scotland, could stay down for weeks.

The outage will be seen as yet another factor tightening availability of gasoline shortly after the start of the northern hemisphere summer driving season and amid dire warnings of impending U.S. shortages.

"The unit's still shut and will be for some time yet," a refinery spokesman said, referring to the 19,000 bpd catalytic cracker that went down after a fire last Saturday.

He said it could be "potentially weeks" before the unit can be restarted, but that BP Amoco could not be certain of the likely timetable for resumption.

"It's still the subject of a Health and Safety Executive investigation," the spokesman said, pointing out that the satefy authority had begun its probe shortly after the fire at the unit on Saturday.

"The HSE have zoned off the plant and we can't do anything until it's handed back to BP," the spokesman added.

The entire petrochemical cracker at Grangemouth, with an ethylene manufacturing capacity of 700,000 tonnes a year, is also shut indefinitely and is the subject of a separate HSE investigation.

That inquiry follows the rupture of a steam line at the plant last Wednesday, June 7. "The HSE is still investigating," the BP Amoco spokesman told Reuters.

He added that the restart of a 32,000 bpd hydrocracker was "on hold" after a power failure in late May, but that the rest of the refinery was running normally.

-- (, June 15, 2000

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