COLUMN-US East Coast crude oil imports set to plunge: Campbell

Fri Dec 7, 2012 11:30am EST
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By Robert Campbell

NEW YORK Dec 7 (Reuters) - Imports of foreign crude oil by U.S. East Coast refineries will plunge next year, leaving more West African light sweet crude oil looking for a home in the European or Asian markets.

New rail facilities set to open up and down the coast next year will give regional refiners the chance to replace a significant chunk -- perhaps half or even more-- of the roughly 750,000 barrels per day in non-Canadian foreign crude they currently import.

Factor in the possibility that U.S. crude oil from the Gulf of Mexico could start being shipped to Eastern Canadian oil refineries by tanker and a potentially dramatic shift in the Atlantic basin market seems poised to occur.

First consider the growing rail infrastructure. Two railway terminals at Albany, New York will have a combined nameplate capacity of 295,000 bpd of crude.

Early next year rail unloading capacity at PBF Energy Inc's Delaware City refinery will rise to 110,000 bpd. A similar story is unfolding at the nearby Philadelphia Energy Solutions' refinery, where rail unloading capacity will rise to at least 140,000 bpd.

These three sites are only a sampling. Other terminals are near completion in Virginia and Florida, where they will have easy access to coastal barge networks.

The PBF facility may well be used to bring Canadian heavy crude to the East Coast as the two PBF refineries at Paulsboro, New Jersey and Delaware City, Delaware are the most capable of handling lower quality crude in the coastal region.   Continued...