U.S. Refiners Monitor West Coast Operations in Wake of Tsunami

NEW YORK -- U.S. energy companies with operations in Hawaii, Alaska and along the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington are on alert for the possibility of a tsunami set off by a massive earthquake off Japan reaching U.S. shores, Reuters reported.

Tesoro Corp., which has the largest concentration of refinery capacity in the region, said it had closed a few retail stations in some low-lying areas of Hawaii as a precaution and was monitoring operations at its refineries in Hawaii, Alaska, California and Washington.

Valero Energy Corp., which operates two refineries in California, said it was monitoring reports regarding the tsunami alert, but had not altered production at its refineries. Meanwhile, Chevron Corp. said its refineries in Hawaii and California were preparing to respond ahead of the tsunami.

The first signs of the tsunami began to wash up on Hawaiian shores early Friday, as waves seen on local television footage rose steadily over the southern beaches on the island of Oahu.

The island state of Hawaii ordered evacuations of its coastal areas and braced for a tidal wave hours after the massive 8.9 earthquake in Japan -- 3,800 miles away -- triggered the tsunami warning across most of the Pacific basin, including northern California and Oregon.

The U.S. government said shorelines appear to be out of major danger from the tsunami, caused by the large quake which killed hundreds in Japan, but that there is still some risk to the U.S. West Coast. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) was coordinating with local officials on the West Coast and in Hawaii on a response if needed, the report stated.


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