Production at Total’s 225,500 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Port Arthur, Texas dropped on Sunday after a worker was killed in an accident on the site, Reuters reports.
The worker was driving a bulldozer in a pit beneath a refining unit, when the machine flipped over in petroleum coke dust and scalding water, and killed him, the report said.
Total and the worker's employer, Kinder Morgan Inc, which operates a petroleum coke terminal in Port Arthur, both confirmed the employee’s death.
Tricia Fuller, a spokesperson for Total, said coker operations were at minimal rates and operators had stopped taking coke from the unit due to the accident.
However, sources familiar with plant operations, told Reuters production at the refinery’s other units had been reduced.
The 60,000 bpd coker was not damaged in the incident, they added.
"We will restart (the coker) once we know it can be operated safely," Fuller said.
Fuller added that the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration were expected to start an investigation on Saturday.
Bulldozers were used to push coke and coarse sand-like coke dust from beneath the delayed coking unit because a crane that is usually used to remove coke from the pit had been shut for repairs for several months, the sources told Reuters.