Motiva may shut largest U.S. refinery during storms Marco, Laura -sources


Adds details, background

HOUSTON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Motiva Enterprises MOTIV.UL may shut the largest crude oil refinery in the United States for the passage of Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura later this week, said sources familiar with plant operations.

The company’s 607,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in the coastal city of Port Arthur, Texas, could be drenched by both storms between Tuesday and the end of the week based on current forecasts, the sources said.

During 2017's Hurricane Harvey, about five feet (1.52 meters) of rain fell on the refinery in late August, forcing Motiva to completely shut down for nearly two weeks.

In 2018, because of the disruption during Harvey, the company cancelled plans to expand the refinery citing the threat of heavy flooding in the low-lying Port Arthur area during a future tropical storm.

Company officials may decide as early as Monday whether the refinery will shut down during the storms, the sources said.

Motiva is owned by Saudi Aramco 2222.SE and in 2019 bought a petrochemical plant in Port Arthur next to the refinery.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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