Skip to main content

Comments and developments from the US USW strike

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

United Steelworkers

USW has said that the explosion at a refinery in Southern California underscores their demands for improved safety conditions to protect both workers and communities. The explosion happened at the ExxonMobil owned Torrance refinery. The blast occurred at approximately 8:50 am on Wednesday 18 February and initial reports suggest that four people suffered minor injuries. News photos of the blast site show twisted metal, crushed vehicles and flying ash. Residents nearby reported feeling the ground shake after the blast and seeing smoke and flames.

Leo W. Gerard, USW International President said, “our members work in dangerous and often too deadly conditions. While employers have reaped billions of dollars in profits over the past several years, they have done little to improve conditions for workers and surrounding communities.”

Tom Conway, USW International Vice President said, “all too often these explosions kill and maim workers and envelop surrounding communities in toxic materials such as smoke, ash and gases.

Dave Campbell, Secretary Treasurer, USW Local 675 said that the blast occurred near a fluid catalytic unit and that “we thank God that no worker at ExxonMobil, hourly, management, or technical, was killed or seriously injured today.

Gary Beevers, USW International Vice President said, “thankfully, the injuries do not appear to be serious this time, but we and the communities where refineries are located are not always so lucky. We believe that improved safety measures can significantly reduce explosions and fires at these dangerous facilities.”

Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings has said that most US refineries should be able to weather the near term effects of the USW strike due to adequate inventories, a mild winter, seasonal maintenance and contingency plans among companies. However, the 11 refineries now affected could see tighter refined product balances if the strike persists over a long period. This would be especially true for gasoline.

Mark Sadeghian, Senior Director said, “with gas prices bottoming out and driving season around the corner, a prolonged strike could tighten up gasoline balances.”

Gasoline consumption increased by 4.6% year on year in December and 6.4% in January, a sharp reversal of trends in previous years as substantially lower crude oil prices have led to lower pump prices. Increased demand came despite unfavourable regulatory pressures on US fuel use, including the renewables fuels mandates, and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards.

Fitch believes oversupply in the crude markets will gradually correct itself as industry capex cuts work their way through the energy chain. However, in the near term, oversupply will pressure crude spreads and hinder some of the industry’s windfall profits.

Edited from press releases by Claira Lloyd

Read the article online at:


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):