(Reuters) - New York Harbor operations struggled to return to normal on Monday, with some signs of progress in restoring normal flows through the biggest and most important oil-trading hub in the country.
As fuel shortages and long queues continued to plague the New York City and Long Island areas, the city on Friday began to ration gasoline for the first time since the 1970‘s, following a similar move by New Jersey.
Hess Corp said on Thursday it had completed post-Sandy assessments at its 70,000 barrel per day (bpd) Port Reading, New Jersey, refinery, but was unable to set a time frame for restarting the plant due to repairs needed by the local power authority. Public Services Enterprise Group said on Monday power had been restored to the substation feeding the plant.
The 238,000 barrel-per-day plant owned by Phillips 66 in Bayway, New Jersey, will likely be shut for another two to three weeks as repairs are carried out, primarily on electrical equipment damaged by saltwater.
Some 28 percent of gas stations in the New York metropolitan area did not have gasoline available for sale on Friday, the same as the day before, according to the Department of Energy’s data arm.
* New Jersey power company PSEG said it restored powered to an electrical substation that supplies electricity to Hess Corp.’s Port Reading, New Jersey plant.
* Phillips 66 said it had no new timeframe for the restart of the Bayway refinery, and said flaring at the plant on Sunday was related to preparation for resuming operations.
* New Jersey government says it will end gasoline rationing on Tuesday at 6 a.m. (1100 GMT).
* Kinder Morgan said all of its facilities were moving product inbound and outbound with limited marine operations restored at its Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and Staten Island, New York, terminals.
* COLONIAL PIPELINE said that although its system returned to “maximum rates,” the situation in New Jersey had “not returned to normal” due to infrastructure problems that could lead to additional slowdowns or shutdowns. It said problems included damage to customer facilities, road closures and power supply problems.
* HESS CORP said it still does not have a time frame for restarting its 70,000 bpd refinery in Port Reading after completing an assessment of refinery equipment, which is now on standby. “The local power authority ... advised that repairs will be needed to a local substation before sufficient power is available to support the refinery’s start-up process,” it said. “A timeframe for the refinery’s restart will be determined once the full power requirement can be met.” A brief power outage on Thursday forced it to stop marine and rack loading at Port Reading. The company said marine and rack operations at its Bayonne, New Jersey, terminal were still suspended on Thursday. Marine operations at its Newark, New Jersey, terminal also remained suspended. All other Hess terminals continued to operate.
* New York City Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG on Thursday ordered the rationing of gasoline sold in the city.
* BLOOMBERG also waived the requirement that buildings and homes in New York City utilize heating oil with sulfur content of less than 0.15 parts per million, effective through December 7.
* MOTIVA ENTERPRISES restarted rack operations from its terminal in Sewaren, New Jersey.
* BUCKEYE PIPELINE said a terminal had a temporary power outage at Inwood, but continued operations on standby generators. Power has since been restored, the company said.
* A NOR‘EASTER blew into areas affected by Hurricane Sandy and dropped record snow in New York and New Jersey, complicating the energy network’s recovery.
* COMMERCIAL STOCKPILES of gasoline in the U.S. central Atlantic, which covers four states, including New York and New Jersey, slipped by only 310,000 barrels last week, government data showed.
* MERCINI LADY, a 47,000-tonne clean oil tanker, was heading out of New York harbor after discharging off the southwestern shore of Manhattan, shipping data showed. BP had chartered the Liberian-flagged tanker to carry fuel from Texas to Montreal, but it was later diverted to the New York harbor after the U.S. government authorized waivers to the Jones Act, allowing non-U.S. vessels to transit between U.S. ports.
* KINDER MORGAN, which had resumed limited operations at its Carteret and Perth Amboy terminals in New Jersey on Monday, said about 238 barrels (some 10,000 gallons) of biodiesel leaked from its Carteret terminal into nearby Rum Creek and reached the Arthur Kill waterway. It said the spill was contained within a day of the storm. It has resumed limited marine operations at Carteret and hopes to do so soon for Perth Amboy and Staten Island.
Reporting by Erwin Seba, Selam Gebrekidan, Joshua Schneyer, Janet McGurty, Edward McAllister and Jonathan Spicer in New York; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Gary Hill and Sofina Mirza-Reid