September 14, 2008 | Mark Paradies

Preliminary news is good on extent of refinery damage…

From the Houston Chronicle:

Valero, the nation’s largest refiner, sent inspection crews to refineries in Texas City, Houston and Port Arthur. Day said late Saturday that they found no significant damage to production units, but the plants don’t have electrical power. Day said crews are working with power providers.

Valero’s refineries also are developing startup plans, but Day said they had no timetable for when startup will begin or how long those processes will take.

Exxon Mobil and other refiners also were assessing damage.

In a briefing in Washington, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he expects it will take another day to determine Ike’s full impact on refineries, but a report from Shell’s massive Deer Park refinery and chemical complex at the Houston Ship Channel suggested damage could turn out to be less than feared.

The U.S. Energy Department said Saturday that Ike prompted shutdowns of 14 refineries in Port Arthur, Houston, Texas City and Corpus Christi.

Those plants process a combined 3.8 million barrels a day, or 22 percent of the nation’s daily refining capacity. They include Exxon Mobil’s Baytown refinery, the nation’s largest, and BP’s Texas City plant, the second-largest.

Other Gulf Coast refineries were operating, though some at reduced levels.

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