November 4, 2012 / 5:40 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-More NY fuel terminals online, gasoline lines persist

NEW YORK, Nov 4 (Reuters) - More fuel terminals came back online in the New York harbor network on Sunday as mainline power was restored nearly a week after super storm Sandy, but gasoline shortages persisted and some major facilities remained idle.

Another concern was that heating oil supplies were dwindling with temperatures dropping and expected to dip to freezing in New York on Monday.

Commercial power was restored at Colonial Pipeline's key terminal in Linden, New Jersey, a major supply hub for New York and northern New Jersey.

In the New York Harbor, some of the four tankers carrying refined fuels and anchored offshore were transferring shipments to smaller barges for delivery, despite some traffic restrictions, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Late on Saturday, Hess Corp. said power was partly restored at its 70,000 barrel per day (bpd) Port Reading, New Jersey, refinery, but it needs full power to complete a damage assessment. Hess said it could take several days before it could bring back utility systems necessary to consider restarting.

New Jersey power provider PSE&G said it brought power back to 78 percent of gasoline stations in its service area, although by early Sunday, there was still evidence of the shortages that have gripped the region, causing miles-long gasoline lines.

"We have restored power to all of the refineries and pipeline suppliers that we are aware of," PSE&G President Ralph LaRossa said on a conference call.

In a briefing early on Sunday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said the fuel shortage is lifting in New York but problems are likely to persist for "a number of days."

By early Sunday, less than 2 million homes and business were without power in states hit by the storm. Power was restored to nearly 77 percent of customers that had initially lost power after Sandy.

Fuel rationing based on license plate numbers in New Jersey, enacted by governor Chris Christie, entered its second day. Only cars with even numbers could buy gasoline in the state on Sunday.

On the heating oil front, suppliers were optimistic there would soon be enough supplies, barring any transportation issues in the next few days.

Two terminals with heating oil supplies - one in the Bronx and one in Brooklyn -- were open for business Sunday and some barges were expected to deliver heating oil to terminals operated by Bayside terminals in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

"If all goes smoothly  we'll have enough for this week and into the next weekend," said John Maniscalco, head of New York Oil Heating Association. (Reporting by Selam Gebrekidan; Editing by David Gregorio)

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