Gasoline prices could escalate because of refinery fire
August 6, 2012
A fire that started Monday evening at the Chevron Corp.’s 250,000 barrel a day refinery in Richmond, California could result in a swift increase in gasoline prices in the western United States. [ChicagoTribune]
The northern California refinery accounts for one-eighth of the states oil refining capabilities. A prolonged outage could result in increased gasoline prices across the state. Because of California’s super-clean gasoline requirements, there are few alternative supply sources.
Chevron released a statement on Monday saying its primary goal is to contain the fire and protect the health and safety of its employees and neighboring residents.
“A fire started at our 4 Crude Unit at 6:15 p.m. today,” Chevron officials said in the statement. “At this time, we do not have details about the cause of the incident. All employees have been safely accounted for and there are no injuries.”
The crude unit converts oil coming into the refinery into intermediate feedstock for all other units. It can take months to repair a crude unit, which could severely limit production at the plant.