HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday closed a part of the Houston Ship Channel to vessel site visitors close to Baytown, Texas, after 11 Greenpeace USA protesters suspended themselves by cables over the important thing oil export waterway.
The closure of 1 portion of the channel, which stretches 53 miles (85 km) from its entrance within the Gulf of Mexico to the Port of Houston, blocked tanker ship site visitors to and from 5 main oil refineries in addition to chemical and oil-export terminals.
In Twitter messages posted by Greenpeace USA, protesters will be seen dangling on harnesses from the bridge over the waterway, with massive yellow banners flapping within the wind.
“We’re within the coronary heart of the fossil gas trade (the biggest oil export channel within the U.S.) to confront Trump & the oil trade,” one tweet mentioned. “It’s time to finish the age of oil,” mentioned one other.
The protest got here hours forward of a deliberate debate in Houston by 10 Democratic White Home contenders that has drawn nationwide media to the fourth-largest U.S. metropolis.
Only one ship was ready to enter the busiest U.S. petrochemical port, and two ships have been ready to exit the waterway, the Coast Guard mentioned.
The realm affected by the closing is close to Exxon Mobil Corp’s 560,500-barrel-per-day refinery in Baytown, which is 26 miles (42 km) east of Houston.
Manufacturing on the refinery was unaffected by the channel closure, folks conversant in the matter advised Reuters. The Baytown refinery is the fourth-largest in the US and Exxon’s largest within the nation.
Different refiners alongside the channel affected by the shutdown included Valero Vitality Corp’s 205,000-bpd Houston refinery, LyondellBasell’s 263,776-bpd Houston refinery, Chevron Corp’s 112,229-bpd Pasadena, Texas, refinery and Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s 340,000-bpd Deer Park, Texas, refinery.
All the refineries are capable of ship out merchandise by way of pipelines and most have sufficient crude available to proceed working at most capability for a number of days.
The channel was closed from Mild 102A to Mild 104, the Coast Guard mentioned in a discover. Ship site visitors to Texas Metropolis, Texas, the place two refineries and a number of other chemical vegetation are positioned, was not affected by the closure on the higher Ship Channel.
Reporting by Erwin Seba in Houston and Swati Verma in Bengaluru ; Modifying by Bernadette Baum