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Fire breaks out at US CITGO refinery

AKE CHARLES: A fire broke out in a cracking unit at the 320,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) CITGO Lake Charles Refinery on Friday, but will be allowed to burn out while the rest of the complex remains in operation, company officials said on Saturday.

The fire broke out at 2030 CDT (2130 EDT, 0130 GMT Saturday) in the Unicracker unit but the cause has not been determined. Plant personnel were isolating the fire, company spokesman Jim McCarthy said.

"Several units are down at the moment, but we're still operational," he said. The plant is mostly geared to producing gasoline and other motor fuels.

The impact of the fire on output will not be determined until later on Saturday, McCarthy said.

Two employees were treated at a local hospital for slight injuries before being released, he said. Fence-line monitoring indicated no harmful off-site environmental impact.

CITGO Petroleum, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a wholly owned subsidiary of PDV America, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of Venezuela. ( REUTERS )

-- Martin Thompson (, September 22, 2001

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