Thursday, August 9, 2012


From the Los Angeles Times.

Pump prices for regular gasoline jumped by more than a nickel a gallon overnight as they climbed back toward $4, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California's Weekend Gas Watch. Usually, gasoline prices change by less than a penny a gallon during any 24-hour period.
The Auto Club said it was one of the first retail price reactions to the fire earlier this week at Chevron Corp.'s sprawling Richmond refinery. Although the refinery is on the shore of San Rafael Bay, north of San Francisco and Oakland, it is an important fuel provider for Southern California.
“Monday night’s major fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond had an immediate effect on the wholesale gasoline market on Tuesday, which has caused gas prices to shoot up since then,” said Auto Club spokesperson Jeffrey Spring.
“Southern Californians have already been experiencing increased pump prices for nearly a month due to higher oil prices, and this incident has just made the increases come even more quickly," Spring added.
The parts of the refinery that were not affected by the fire are still operating, but Chevron hasn't said how much fuel they are able to produce. At peak performance, the plant is capable of producing 243,000 barrels a day, making it the state's third biggest refinery.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $3.956 per gallon, which is 10.3 cents more than last week, 25 cents higher than last month, and 17 cents higher than last year.
If you are hoping that the refinery will be back up soon that does not look likely. 

The damage caused by a fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond will take months to repair and will hobble one of the West Coast's biggest sources of fuel, industry experts said Wednesday.
And while panic buying appears to have prompted a jump in wholesale gasoline prices after Monday night's fire, analysts say, the longer-term effect on California drivers may not be as dire as initially feared.
The fire erupted in the facility's only crude-oil processing unit, the heart of any refinery. So far company officials have not disclosed the extent of damage or a timetable for bringing the unit back online.
Fires involving crude oil units at other refineries, in California and elsewhere, have required repairs that took three months or more.
Photos of the fire show that at least three units used to cool water within the plant's machinery were extensively damaged and will need to be reconstructed from scratch, said Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline safety expert who used to help run an Arco refinery in Los Angeles County.
"They've got to rebuild them, and that will take a while," he said. "If they work 24/7, it will still take a while. Some of this stuff is not available off the shelf; the parts have to be ordered. They can scour the country, but it's not a like a car part."
Kuprewicz said when his refinery had to rebuild about four cooling units, it took two months, working around the clock. "You're not going to fix it in a couple days."

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