Northeast US refineries nearly back to full strength after Hurricane Sandy


Most refineries in the Northeast are back to operating at planned rates after Hurricane Sandy, but fuel deliveries remain a problem.

Sandy, which made landfall in southern New Jersey Monday, caused refineries with a combination of 1 million bpd in capacity to shut down or cut operating rates. Most refineries are back to normal, although power outages have made getting supply to gas stations difficult and forced drivers to wait in long lines to refuel.

The fuel shortages currently plaguing drivers in the Northeast should be alleviated within days, much sooner than those caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said Neal Walters, partner at the energy practice of law firm A.T. Kearney.

Katrina destroyed refinery infrastructure, while Sandy merely jumbled the supply chain, Mr. Walters said.

"The refining capacity that did shut down and terminals that did shut down were more due to flooding and power issues," Mr. Walters added. "There's no indication that any of this should be long term."

Phillips 66's 238,000 bpd Bayway refinery in Linden, N.J., was the only major refinery in the region still idled. Power had been restored to the refinery but production hadn't yet restarted, a company spokesman said Thursday.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions' 335,000 bpd refinery in Philadelphia and Delta Airlines' 185,000 bpd refinery Trainer, Penn., were near or at planned rates, sources with the refineries said.

PBF Energy said Thursday that its 180,000 bpd refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., and 190,000 bpd refinery in Delaware City, Del., were restored to planned rates after having production scaled back during the storm.

Customers unable to receive PBF fuel because of power outages affecting pipelines and terminals were bringing trucks to the company's rack in Delaware City to take delivery, PBF spokesman Michael Karlovich said.

Hess Corp. said late Wednesday power remained out at its 70,000 bpd refinery in Port Reading, N.J. A Hess spokesperson wasn't available Thursday.

The Colonial Pipeline Co. said Thursday it planned to have its pipeline restart fuel deliveries to the New York Harbor area from the Gulf Coast on Friday. Portable generators would allow limited deliveries to be made from its Linden, N.J., facilities by the end of Thursday, the company said.

The Colonial pipeline delivers up to 800,000 bpd of fuel to the New York area.

Dow Jones Newswires

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