What’s that smoke? Several plants in Houston Ship Channel area conducting flaring operations

Houston TranStar camera footage of Highway 330 at Bayway on Dec. 23, 2022. (Houston Transtar, Houston TranStar)

HOUSTON – If you hear rumbling or see bright orange flames and smoke coming from various plants along the Houston Ship Channel, there is no need to panic as this is a planned operation.

Various refineries in the Ship Channel area, near Pasadena and Baytown, are burning material in a procedure known as flaring. The black smoke from the flaring is visible from Transtar cameras off Highways 225 and 330.

According to the CAERline and ECHMA, over the next few days, there could be intermittent use of the plant flaring system as the refineries shut down for the freezing weather.

Flaring is regulated by the state and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Some of the refineries currently conducting flaring include LyondellBasell Choate/Pasadena, Celanesa Clear Lake, PEMEX Deer Park, Valero Houston, LyondellBasell/Channelview, Chevron Phillips/Baytown, LyondellBasell/Lawndale, Shell Company/Deer Park, LyondellBasell/LaPorte.