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Crude prices jump after massive fire at ExxonMobil plant

By Daniel Tyson

14:48, 23 December 2021

Fire at ExxonMobil's Baytown, Texas, facility
The overnight blaze started in a hydrotreater - Photo: Shutterstock

Oil prices jumped Thursday morning after an explosion at ExxonMobil’s Baytown, Texas, refinery, one of the nation’s largest petroleum operations, sent four people to the hospital.

The overnight blaze started in a hydrotreater and was extinguished about five hours later, according to various news reports.

By 09:30 EST (UTC-5) the price of West Texas Intermediate crude climbed to $72.83 a barrel. Meanwhile, ExxonMobil stocks were up 1% to $61.62.

Explosion details

The plant reportedly has a production capacity of 560,500 barrels daily. 

The fire is believed to have started in a hydrotreater, which is used primarily to remove sulphur and other contaminants from intermediate streams before the blending process. The equipment was shut down Wednesday due to a bypass line leak, according to reports.


2,019.57 Price
-0.470% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0198%
Short position overnight fee 0.0116%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.30


24.17 Price
-1.430% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0205%
Short position overnight fee 0.0123%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.020

Oil - Crude

72.22 Price
-1.690% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0225%
Short position overnight fee 0.0006%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.040

Oil - Brent

77.07 Price
-1.490% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0148%
Short position overnight fee -0.0071%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.045

Three of the injured were taken to Houston area hospitals by helicopter, while the fourth was taken by ambulance, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said during a press conference.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, and ExxonMobil said air-quality monitoring has not revealed any issues. No evacuations or shelter-in-place orders have been issued. 

A call to ExxonMobil’s media line went unanswered Thursday morning.

Read more: ExxonMobil (XOM) stock forecast: Where next for the oil major?

Markets in this article

Exxon Mobil Corp (Extended Hours)
100.44 USD
-2.07 -2.020%
Exxon Mobil Corp (Extended Hours)
100.44 USD
-2.07 -2.020%
Exxon Mobil Corp (Extended Hours)
100.44 USD
-2.07 -2.020%

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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