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Marathon Texas Refinery Works to Contain Day-Old Oil Leak

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(Bloomberg) -- Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s huge oil refinery on the Texas Gulf Coast continues to try to contain a crude leak more than 24 hours after crude began gushing from a storage tank on site, a regulatory filing from the company showed.

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The crude release at the Galveston Bay facility in Texas City began early Wednesday after a valve flange on the tank failed and oil began pouring into the tank’s containment dike, the filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality showed. Marathon is emptying the tank as quickly as possible to minimize pollution. The company said there were no injuries.

Energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie estimated the crude tank’s capacity is 400,000 barrels. Marathon declined to discuss the size of the tank.

The leak at the 593,000 barrel-a-day refinery is being contained within an earth dike and foam is being applied to reduce vapors. Equipment to remove the oil for processing and disposal is being deployed. Cleanup is underway and the crude spill remains on-site.

Crude oil released from the storage tank remains contained on-site, and there has been “no indication of risk to the community,” spokesman Jamal T. Kheiry said in an emailed statement on Thursday. The company still doesn’t have an estimate on how much oil has been lost, he added.

Shares of Marathon, the largest independent U.S. refiner, rose as much as 2.4% at 11:56 a.m. in New York.

The incident started at 7:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday and is expected to be over by 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the filing showed. It estimated the leakage at 5,000 pounds of volatile organic compounds.

A road running by the site was closed because of odors emanating from the spill, Bruce Clawson, emergency manager for Texas City, said Wednesday.

(Updates with crude tank size in third paragraph)

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