- KHOU 11


A failed pump seal caused a pipe to leak crude oil at a Marathon Petroleum refinery last week, Bruce Clawson, Texas City’s interim director of Homeland Security, told ABC13.

The pipe on the side of a tank on the company’s Galveston Bay refinery spewed crude oil for a reported 24 hours until the leak was capped. The storage tank is located outside and the spill was contained to the refinery, according to Marathon Petroleum spokesperson Jamal T. Kheiry.

The company deployed air monitoring equipment, but Kheiry said there was no indication of risk to the community. None of the refinery’s 1,640 employees were injured. It is unclear how much oil was released. 

According to the Marathon Petroleum website, the refinery can refine 593,000 barrels of crude oil every day.

Environmental groups expressed concern about the Marathon oil spill.

Anthony D’Souza of local environmental justice group Air Alliance Houston worries about the potential effects of chemicals found in crude oil, and their potential impact to the environment and local residents through the air.

“Things like benzene, toluene, xylene, they’re all in the crude oil, but they evaporate really quickly, and they enter the air as well,” D’Souza told KHOU 11. “So, we’re concerned. Immediately, the most concern is about those substances and how long they stay in the environment and how far they traveled, depending on the weather conditions.”

Bob Stokes, president of local conservation nonprofit Galveston Bay Foundation, is less concerned. “These facilities are built with a series of berms and levees and gates that they can close off when there’s a spill in the interior of the facility,” Stokes told KHOU 11. “They are close to the Bay … but it appears that the design of this facility is working correctly.”