Outages, floods hit two New Jersey refineries; others restart

Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:38pm EDT
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By Janet McGurty

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Flooding at the second-largest refinery on the U.S. East Coast plus power glitches at two other plants and a key New Jersey terminal hub slowed the recovery in fuel supplies disrupted by Hurricane Sandy.

While the region's biggest plant, in Philadelphia, and several others were ramping up operations after escaping damage, other facilities, pipelines and terminals were struggling to restore the flow of supplies that had slowed to a trickle. Several operators cited power outages around the Linden, New Jersey, hub near the key New York harbor trading area.

Phillips 66 (PSX.N: Quote) said there was "some flooding in low-lying areas" of its 238,000 barrel-per-day Bayway, New Jersey, plant, which was shut on Monday as a precaution. It did not say when the plant, which had lost external power, might restart.

New Jersey utility PSE&G said late in the day that it had "re-energized" three of six flooded switchyards, including equipment that can deliver power to Linden.

News of trouble at Bayway, nicknamed the "gasoline machine" for its key role in supplying motor fuel to the New York City area, turned the tide in gasoline futures which had fallen more than 2 percent as output recovered elsewhere and traders bet that fuel consumption would be hit. <O/R>

By late evening, prices had reversed course to rise more than 2 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), which was due to reopen its trading floor on Wednesday. A fire at a unit of BP's (BP.L: Quote) Texas City refinery aided gains too.

Other power-related glitches also surfaced after the storm, which left more than 8 million customers without electricity, shut the region's seven major international airports and all but halted traffic on the nation's most heavily traveled roads.

As the storm moved north, a power outage shut Imperial Oil's (IMO.TO: Quote) 121,000-bpd Sarnia, Ontario, refinery, but the company said it expected to restart units later in the day.   Continued...