BP refinery in Indiana restarts after fire

BP Plc’s refinery in Whiting, Indiana, has restarted production after being shut down last week due to an electrical fire, Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the operations.

The 435,000-barrel-a-day refinery, the largest in the Midwest, caught fire last week, shutting down several units and declaring an emergency in four states.

Fire supplies impacted of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in the Midwest, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin obtaining approximately 25% of their fuel supply from this facility.

The outage led to a temporary lifting of a summer restriction on fuel sales – intended to prevent greater shortages – by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Whiting Refinery can produce 10 million gallons (~277,000 barrels) of gasoline, 4 million gallons of diesel, and 2 million gallons of jet fuel each day; it is capable of producing enough gasoline each day to support the daily movement of 7 million cars, according to the refinery’s fact sheet.

Markets feared an outage at a key refinery such as Whiting could put upward pressure on gasoline prices which have been trending lower for weeks.

Michigan, one of four affected states, is already expected to see the highest gas prices since Labor Day since 2012, the Detroit Free Press reports. This is despite the fact that average gasoline prices in the state have fallen 49 cents per gallon over the past 30 days, with declines recorded for 10 consecutive weeks.

The national average per gallon of gasoline in the United States was down to $3,481 on Wednesday, according to AAAcompared to the average a year ago of $3,159.

There are still fears that gasoline prices will rise again, with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm claiming that fuel exports are affecting domestic supplies, with gasoline supplies on the East Coast at their lowest level in nearly 10 years.

By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com

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