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West Texas oil refinery explodes


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My two sisters and family live in this town. She said everyone was OK, but the windows out of my BIL office were blown out about 20 miles away. :wacko:




BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Refinery explosion reported near Big Spring

By Paul A. Anthony (Contact)

Originally published 10:41 a.m., February 18, 2008

Updated 10:51 a.m., February 18, 2008



At least two people are reported to be injured after a massive explosion at an oil refinery outside Big Spring that shattered windows, forced the closure of Interstate 20 and sent shock waves that could be felt in San Angelo.


The explosion at the Alon Refinery occurred about 8:20 a.m.


According to an update e-mail from the Texas State Operations Center, all the refinery's employees have been accounted for but several contract workers have not, and two injuries have been reported.


Media reports, citing Alon's spokesman, have reported that just one person is injured.


The American Red Cross is joining Big Spring and Howard County emergency personnel at the scene.


About 170 people work at the refinery, which processes 70,000 barrels of oil a day for the company, which markets under the Fina brand name. The refinery has been operating since 1928, according to the company's Web site.


The blast shattered windows at a school one mile away, according to the operations center, and sent a plume of black smoke visible for miles. Area residents as far away from the blast as Bronte and San Angelo, 85 miles southeast of Big Spring, said they felt the explosion.


Howard College-Big Spring, within five miles of the refinery, evacuated its Big Spring campus and closed its offices for the day, said the college's director of information, Cindy Smith.


"We all thought something hit us," Smith said of the blast. "Stuff falling off walls, coming down from the ceilings."

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In a related story:


Crude's jump to $100 guts rally


A refinery explosion in Texas and possible OPEC output cuts push crude higher.


Crude oil closed above $100 for the first time ever this afternoon as a refinery fire in Texas, cold weather in the Midwest and East and worries about continuing oil shortages pushed prices higher. Consumers won't like it when they fill their gas tanks. And it has cut down a stock market rally this afternoon.


Crude closed at $100.01 a barrel, up 4.7% from Friday.


Once up as many as 155 points, the Dow Jones industrialswere down 13 points, or 0.1%, to 12,335 at 3 p.m ET. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2 points to 1,348. But the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 16 points, or 0.7%, to 2,305.


The ostensible reason for the oil-price uptick was an explosion and fire that shut down an Alon Energy USA (ALJ, news, msgs) refinery in Texas. Prices shot up and pulled energy shares higher as a result. In addition, traders said there was speculation that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would trim production when the cartel meets in March.


Also there was news of renewed unrest in Nigeria.


Get free, real-time stock quotes on MSN Money


ExxonMobil (XOM, news, msgs) and Chevron (CVX, news, msgs) were up 2.5% to $87.53 and 2% to $85.31, respectively, and added more than 30 points to the Dow's gain by themselves.


Chevron joined the Dow today, along with Bank of America (BAC, news, msgs). They replaced Altria Group (MO, news, msgs) and Honeywell International (HON, news, msgs).


While Exxon and Chevron generated the most points for the Dow, American International Group was the biggest percentage gainer today, up 2.8% to $47.38, after a story in Barrons over the weekend suggested the stock was undervalued.




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