Explosion, fire rocks Motiva refinery in St. James Parish

Fire erupts at St. James Parish plant
Published: Aug. 11, 2016 at 3:44 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2016 at 4:56 PM CDT
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ST. JAMES PARISH, LA (WVUE) - An explosion and fire rocked the Motiva refinery Thursday morning.

The St. James Sheriff's office says the fire and explosion occurred at 10:54 a.m. and is still burning at the facility located on Highway 44 in Convent.

The St. James Parish and Convent Fire departments have responded to the scene.

La. Hwy. 70 is closed between La. Hwy. 3125 and La. Hwy. 22 until further notice.

A spokesman for the sheriff's office said all employees have been accounted for.

Motiva has activated their emergency response plan monitor air quality in and around the plant.

More than 700 people work at the refinery.

"The safety of our employees and our community is our first priority," said Hugues Bourgogne, General Manager of the Convent Refinery. "Please bear with us as we focus our attention on accounting for all employees and securing the incident."

According to the Motiva website, including the Convent facility, Motiva owns and operates three refineries – located within a 120-mile radius of each other - in Convent and Norco and Port Arthur, Texas.

The Convent refinery was built by Texaco in 1967. It is an integrated oil refinery that produces a full slate of conventional petroleum products including regular, premium and low-sulfur gasoline.

The refinery produces reformulated and conventional gasoline, primarily for the southeastern United States.

In 1979, the refinery underwent a major expansion; today, it has a crude capacity of 230,000 barrels per day.

The combined refining capacity of the three sites is approximately 1.1 million barrels per day.

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