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Chevron's Richmond refinery down for year

Nov. 6, 2012 at 8:27 AM

SAN RAMON, Calif., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. supermajor Chevron said its refinery in Richmond, Calif., struck by a fire in August, will return to full production in the first quarter of 2013.

Mike Wirth, executive vice president for downstream operations, said during a conference call announcing lower-than-expected earnings for the third quarter that Chevron has "an expected startup during the first quarter of 2013," the Contra Costa Times newspaper in Walnut Creek, Calif., reports.

Chevron shut one unit at its Richmond refinery following a fire in August. Investigators with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board agency said refinery workers were trying to stem a leak from an 8-inch line at one of the refinery units before the fire started.

Chevron had said it discovered that the type of metal in the pipe may have contributed to the failure. It said production at the Richmond unit, which processes around 245,000 barrels of oil per day, is operating at around 60 percent of capacity.

The closure was in part to blame for higher-than-average gasoline prices in the state. Motor group AAA reports Tuesday that California drivers were paying an average $3.95 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, compared to a national average of $3.46.

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