News

Thursday PM September 13th, 2007

Refineries affected by Hurricane Humberto…Testimony continues in BP, Oscar Wyatt trials…Continental Airlines to announce expansion of Cleveland hub… The Port Arthur electric utility experienced widespread outage in its service area as a result of Hurricane Humberto. Three oil refineries that produce a combined 850,000 barrels of crude oil a day were shut down until power […]

Refineries affected by Hurricane Humberto…Testimony continues in BP, Oscar Wyatt trials…Continental Airlines to announce expansion of Cleveland hub…

The Port Arthur electric utility experienced widespread outage in its service area as a result of Hurricane Humberto. Three oil refineries that produce a combined 850,000 barrels of crude oil a day were shut down until power was restored. Oil prices remain near record highs and gasoline futures jumped after Valero Energy and Total said their refineries in Port Arthur lost power and the hurricane hit Texas. The Motiva Port Arthur refinery was affected and all units were shut-down as a result early this morning. Valero refineries in Corpus Christi, Houston and Texas City were unaffected.


BP officials gave differing views to jurors in Galveston on the affects of budget cuts the oil giant ordered in 1999. Their testimony came in a civil lawsuit that was brought by four workers. They are among the estimated 170 people injured when BP’s Texas City refinery exploded in 2005. Fifteen workers were killed in the blast. Paul Maslin is BP’s Technology Vice President for Refining. In a videotaped deposition, Maslin said he disagreed with BP when it called for a 25 percent budget cut throughout the company. Maslin at the time was working at BP’s Coryton refinery in England. Patrick Gower is BP’s Refining Vice President for the U.S. region, but he was working at the Texas City refinery in 1999. Gower told jurors the cuts forced the plant to reduce spending on such things as meals for staff, janitorial services and landscaping.


Jurors in the trial of a Houston oilman heard a taped meeting involving the businessman, Saddam Hussein and former Texas Governor John Connally. Oscar S. Wyatt, Jr., is accused of paying millions of dollars in kickbacks to Iraqi officials. Prosecutors say Wyatt cashed in on his friendship to garner lucrative oil contracts from the United Nations Oil-for-Food program. They presented a tape and 10-page transcript of a December 1990 meeting with Saddam, Connally and Wyatt. Wyatt’s defense lawyers say he was a hero who convinced Saddam to agree during the meeting to begin releasing dozens of Americans. Saddam had ordered several Americans held as potential shields in the event the United States decided to invade his country. If convicted, the 83-year-old Wyatt could face more than 60 years in prison.


A report says Continental Airlines is close to announcing an expansion of its hub at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The Plain Dealer reports Continental is expected to reveal its plans at a Friday meeting in Cleveland involving airline, city and state officials. The newspaper cited an unnamed source familiar with the plans. A Continental spokeswoman declined comment. Houston-based Continental had asked Ohio to help fund the expansion, which would include construction of new ticketing and passenger reception areas. The state responded with a $16 million combination of grants, loans, tax credits and hiring services. State officials were concerned that Continental might instead choose to expand its hub in Newark, New Jersey, or its base in Houston.

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