Big Chunk of Northeast Refining Remains Idle After Sandy

Port Shutdowns Strain Gasoline Supply Chain

About 28% of oil refining capacity in the Northeast U.S. remained idled earlier this week, crimping gasoline supplies as the region struggled to recover after Hurricane Sandy slammed the New Jersey coast nearly three weeks ago, the Energy Information Administration said in its This Week in Petroleum Report.

As of November 13, a total of 308,000 barrels a day of refining capacity in the New York Harbor area was still inoperable, the EIA, a CME Group featured contributor, said in the report. That included the biggest plant in the area, a Phillips 66 refinery in Linden, N.J., that can process 238,000 barrels of crude a day. Refineries in the Northeast have capacity to process more than 1.1 million barrels a day.

The storm, which made landfall October 29, also forced the shutdown of the New York Harbor for several days, sending the Northeast's gasoline imports in early November to the lowest levels since at least 2004. Five import terminals were still closed as of November 13.

Fuel supplies across the broader Northeast "have been less of a problem than disruptions due to damage to terminals, ports, and pipelines serving the New York metropolitan area," the EIA said. "These disruptions have especially stressed supply chains between the wholesale and retail segments."

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