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Cooling tower tumbles at refinery

ROXANA — There were no reported injuries Tuesday evening after a cooling tower collapsed in what refinery officials call an “operational upset.”

The cooling tower was used in the day-to-day operations at the refinery. While production was impacted, officials at the refinery said they were still meeting all of its product supply commitments to customers in the area Wednesday morning. The incident caused the refinery to utilize additional flaring, which required contacting regulatory authorities.

“Notifications were made to appropriate agencies in compliance with permits due to some flaring associated with the process upset,” refinery spokesperson Melissa Erker said Wednesday. “Anytime we have a flaring incident, we send it to the agencies moments after it happens. We can’t just do it randomly.”

“Flaring” is the action through which the facility burns excess materials in the refining process. It is an easily visible process which is displayed by the tall, narrow towers that emit flames of various sizes. Erker said the refinery must be in compliance with regulating authorities in regards to flaring.

Erker said the facility is currently working to resupply cooling water to the impacted units using “redundant cooling water supply from other towers.”

She said the redundancy systems in the refinery assure such incidents can have as low of an effect on refinery operations as possible.

The Wood River Refinery is operated by Phillips 66. Erker said she could not speculate on what the incident could do to regional gasoline prices citing the sheer amount of factors coming into play when gas prices are calculated including oil prices and refining capabilities of other facilities.

Erker could not comment on the operational impact of the incident at this time, but said the refinery was working to quickly resolve the issue with as little impact as possible.

In related news, BP restarts part of Indiana oil refinery after repairs.

This article was written by By Cory Davenport – [email Protected] from The Telegraph, Alton, Ill. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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