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Oil Spill Shuts 10% of Refining Capacity

oil refineryShipping channels that deliver crude oil for more than one-tenth of US refining capacity in Texas were shut for a third day on Monday following a weekend oil spill, Reuters reports. The spill cleanup could last through the week.

The Houston Ship Channel was shut on Saturday following a collision between a Kirby Inland Marine oil barge and a cargo ship, spilling some 4,000 barrels of residual fuel oil.

The channels to Houston and Texas City, Galveston and the Intracoastal Waterway remained shut near the entrance to Galveston Bay. The US Coast Guard said 43 ships were waiting to go out from the port of Houston and 38 ships were waiting to come in, up from 40 outbound and 35 inbound on Sunday evening.

A Coast Guard warning on Sunday said portions of the Houston channel and its offshoots to Texas City and Galveston, Texas, could be closed through March 29 or longer, depending on the requirements of a cleanup.

Exxon Mobil Corp said on Sunday the closure had not yet affected operations at its 560,500 barrel-per-day refinery in Baytown, Texas, the nation’s second largest, according to Reuters.

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