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UPDATE 2-PBF Energy cited for excessive flaring at Torrance, Calif. refinery

(Adds statement, background from PBF Energy; Exxon Mobil lawsuit)

By Liz Hampton

HOUSTON Oct 14 PBF Energy Inc has received a violation notice from air regulators for excessive flaring at its Torrance refinery in Los Angeles, just days after an outage at a local utility knocked the facility offline yet again.

On Tuesday, the refiner reported flaring at the 151,300-barrel-per-day refinery following a 26-minute power interruption to Southern California Edison's system. Some 90,000 businesses and homes also lost power as a result of the outage.

A similar incident occurred at the refinery in the second half of September, which required it to run at reduced rates for almost two weeks.

PBF on Friday said the company has experienced four power interruptions in the last month that originated outside of the refinery. It was not clear if the other two interruptions took the facility offline.

The outages come just months after the Torrance refinery resumed normal operations following more than a year-long breakdown of its fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU). That unit, which produces gasoline, went offline in February 2015 following an explosion at the refinery, which at the time was operated by Exxon Mobil.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will file a petition next week that will seek improvements in the refiner's reliability of power supply, electrical infrastructure, monitoring and overall maintenance, according to a notice published Thursday.

PBF spokesman Michael Karlovich said the company disagreed with the air regulators characterization of the flaring events, and that it was working with the SCAQMD and Southern California Edison to address the reliability of the grid serving the refinery.

Exxon Mobil earlier this year lost lawsuit filed in 2012 against Southern California Edison over power reliability. Exxon is appealing that ruling. (Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jeffrey Benkoe and Bernard Orr)

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