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Energy & Environment

Houston’s Heavy Industry Gears Up For Harvey

Refineries say they’re closely watching the forecast.

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Marathon Petroleum Corporation Galveston Bay refinery at night. Texas City, Texas
Marathon Petroleum Corporation
Marathon Petroleum Corporation Galveston Bay refinery at night. Texas City, Texas

Houston’s heavy industry is gearing up for Harvey.

Refineries say they're closely watching the forecast. Congressman Gene Green, whose district is filled with heavy industry, says some plants will likely scale down in the days ahead.

“They're probably already doing it right now,” he says, “whether it be Exxon in Baytown, Shell in Deer Park, or the other three refineries that are actually in our district.”

In Corpus Christi, reports say two refineries are closing down. Petrochemical giant LyondellBasell says it's activated severe weather plans at facilities in Houston, Corpus Christi and Bay City.

“There are just a ton of things going on as we speak to kind of batten down the hatches, says Rice University flood expert Phil Bedient. He says plants along Houston's Ship Channel are mostly equipped to handle the heavy rains Harvey's expected to bring.

“In the absence of any significant storm surge, it's going to be a much safer situation for them,” he says.

In the Gulf, oil companies have been evacuating off platforms. Government data showed almost 10% of Gulf of Mexico oil production was temporarily halted by Harvey as of Thursday morning.

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