Some Of That Gas Being Refined Near Here Is Going Far, Far Away

ExxonMobil and Valero are still in the process of reopening some refineries, meaning things at the wholesale end of the gas pipeline won’t approach normal for at least several more days. (We don't even want to think about the retail end.)

Although gas lines have shortened since Monday, and more retail gas stations are open, some Houstonians are still having to deal with the crunch.

Generally, companies that own the refineries have contracts with buyers who actually distribute the fuel to the gas stations. This means that, even in an event like Ike, pre-existing contracts in areas without need could trump the need in the devastated areas.

At Valero, spokesman Bill Day tells Hair Balls the company has been diverting more deliveries to Houston.

He said the Houston refinery is in a “preliminary restart” stage, and the company is “working around the clock” to reopen the Texas City and Port Arthur facilities, according to spokesman Bill Day. He said it will be at least a few more days before those refineries are up and running.

ExxonMobil’s Betsy Eaton said that company is also having to deal with reopening refineries. “It’s not like you just flip a switch and turn them back on again,” Eaton said. The company’s Beaumont refinery still has no electricity, she said. Meanwhile, a list of company-owned stations with gas is on the ExxonMobil website.

-- Craig Malisow

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