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BP’s refinery in Whiting, Indiana should resume normal operations within the next few days, before it has had any market impact on gasoline prices.
"The team is working diligently to bring back refinery operations in the coming days," a BP spokeswoman told Reuters adding that the supermajor "has deployed all available resources to restore production as soon as possible.".
An electrical fire erupted at the Whiting facility last week, leading to the shutdown of several units and prompting a declaration of emergency across four states, including Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
According to the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the incident had affected the supply of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel across the four states, which prompted the emergency declaration. The four states get a quarter of their fuel supply from the Whiting refinery.
In addition to the declaration of emergency, the Environmental Protection Agency lifted temporarily a restriction on fuel sales during the summer to help prevent shortages in the four states.
The outage is unlikely to affect fuel prices, however, says Tom Kloza from the Oil Price Information Service.
“Retail prices are not likely to surge but they could recede at a slower rate than what one might expect without a major refinery limping along,” Kloza told the AP.
“I think it’s going to delay the decline in prices that had been ongoing, but it’s only a matter of time before that decline resumes,” GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan told the AP, saying the outage was a temporary setback.
“The problems — both pricing and supply — will probably really ramp up if that facility can’t get back online or isn’t restarting by say, Thursday or Friday,” he explained.
The Whiting refinery - the largest refinery in the Midwest and the sixth-largest in the country - is capable of processing 440,000 barrels per day of crude oil.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com