Release at Valero Refinery Contained

SAN FRANCISCO -- A gas release at a Valero Energy Corp. refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area was contained Saturday after residents were ordered to stay inside and close their windows.

The release of sulfur trioxide at the 168,000 barrel-per-day Golden Eagle refinery in Martinez, northeast of San Francisco, occurred at about 2 p.m., according to Reuters. An "all clear signal" was issued about an hour later.

Sulfur trioxide is a gas that causes a burning and irritating sensation to the eyes, nose, throat and airways upon exposure, the report said. The cause of the gas release was not immediately known.

The Golden Eagle refinery was owned by Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp. (UDS) before the company merged with San Antonio-based Valero, one of the top three U.S. refining companies, at the end of last year.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission required that the Golden Eagle refinery be divested as a condition of the merger. The refinery is being run separately and independently during the divestment process, a Valero Energy spokeswoman said.
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