US Sunoco refinery fire to keep east coast prices high - source

11 May 2012 16:20  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--East coast spot gasoline prices are still holding strong following a fire at one of Sunoco’s primary crude units at its Philadelphia refinery in Pennsylvania, a spot market broker said on Friday.

The fire occurred on Wednesday at the 335,000 bbl/day refinery and was extinguished quickly, according to market sources.

The broker said even if the unit is restarted today, supply is still very tight upfront, which will likely cause spot prices to continue to strengthen in the short-term. He said this is the only recent refinery activity on the east coast that could affect prices.

Phil Flynn, analyst with PFGBest, said this shouldn’t have any impact on the ongoing talks with The Carlyle Group about a possible joint venture involving the 330,000 bbl/day refinery, which was announced in late April. It will just affect spot prices.

“Whenever we get a glitch, wholesalers bid up prices,” said Flynn. “Hopefully, it will be a short term blip - as soon as buyers know the extent of the damages.”   

Sunoco did not immediately return a call seeking comment on when the unit would be restarted.

ICIS assessed Thursday's east coast spot prices for regular unleaded summer gasoline 3.50 cents/gal stronger to trade at $3.1900-3.1925/gal, while conventional blendstock for oxygen blending traded 6.00 cents/gal stronger at spot prices of $3.0100-3.0125/gal.

By: Anna Matherne

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