The multinational oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) has delayed the restart of its Torrance refinery due to some unexpected operational delays.
The energy giant is planning to return the refinery into full operation on Monday night, instead of the previously planned Saturday night.
As part of Exxon Mobil’s start-up procedure, the oil company intends to shut off the pollution control system of the plant for 6 hours during a 12-hour period. This move gained approval from the South Coast Air Quality Management District as a safety precaution. The mentioned period is anticipated to start at 7 p.m. on Monday and to end by 7 a.m. the following day.
This shutdown will lead to “somewhat higher emissions,” according to an AQMD spokesman Sam Atwood. However, the district does not anticipate that these higher emissions will cause any harm to the residents of the area.
Regardless of this, the acting executive officer of the AQMD Mr. Wayne Nastri also stated that they will still keep a watchful eye on the operation.
“We are taking a number of steps to protect nearby residents when the refinery starts up and resumes operations,” stated Nastri.
“One of those measures includes deploying an air monitoring network to measure fine particulate levels in the air around the refinery during the startup process,” he further added.
The American oil giant is planning to fire up the operations of its primary departments that help in the processing of gasoline.
Exxon Mobil’s Torrance refinery unit has not been operational since the month of February last year, when an explosion destroyed the plant’s pollution control system. Yet, the Torrance refinery has operated at approximately 20 percent of its normal production after the February 2015 explosion.
The prices of gasoline within the region edged up by as much as $1.50 above the national average during the previous year, as the Torrance refinery unit typically produces about 10 percent of the refined gas capacity of the state at full operation. Furthermore, Exxon’s plant is also responsible for generating around 20 percent of the gasoline capacity in Southern California.
Aside from this, the California Energy Commission has pointed out that the refinery should continue its operations at full service in order to close the gap between Los Angeles and the rest of the country in terms of gasoline prices.
The gasoline prices in California are normally higher in comparison to the national prices, primarily because of the above-average taxes and fees together with the state’s strict requirements to generate low pollution gasoline blends. In addition, one of the main reasons for the relatively higher energy prices is the small number of oil and gas refineries in the region.
After the restart of the Torrance refinery, Exxon Mobil is planning to sell it to PBF Energy. This acquisition deal is anticipated to be closed by the middle of this year.
As of the time of writing, the XOM stock is changing hands at $88.49, up by 0.51 percent or 0.45. Furthermore, its market capitalization currently stands at 367.35 billion.