* Lack of terminal capacity to limit fuel import options-EIA
* ULSD shortfall seen worse than gasoline-EIA
By Janet McGurty and Ayesha Rascoe
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, Feb 27 The U.S.
Northeast should expect price spikes in gasoline and ultra-low
sulfur diesel if Sunoco Inc's Philadelphia refinery
shuts down this summer, The U.S. Energy Information
Administration said on Monday.
Expanding on its earlier report on potential impacts of
refinery activities in the Northeast, the EIA said it expects a
160,000 barrel per day gap in gasoline supply on the East Coast
in 2012 if the Philadelphia refinery shuts down.
In 2011, the Northeast used 1.5 million bpd of gasoline --
36 percent imported and 38 percent produced in regional
refineries, which turned out 580,000 barrels per day.
Sunoco has shut down its 178,000 bpd refinery in Marcus
Hook, Pennsylvania last year due to poor margins after failing
to attract a buyer for the plant.
At the end of September 2011, ConocoPhillips Corp
ceased operating its 185,000 bpd refinery in Trainer and
mothballed it while seeking a buyer. All three refineries are
within a 12 mile radius.
The government said the larger logistical hurdle is lack of
terminal and pipeline connections to move products from
waterborne vessels -- either from foreign supply or the U.S.
Gulf Coast -- into a product distribution system that serves
Pennsylvania and western New York State.
"A higher-priced environment could persist for months, if
not longer, until infrastructure changes can be made," the
While some terminal capacity has been added, many midstream
companies are waiting to see what happens with Philadelphia
refinery before increasing their presence.
The EIA also said prices of ultra-low sulfur diesel could
rise due to higher Jones Act tanker prices transporting product
to East Coast.
Current law says that ships moving between U.S. ports must
be owned, operated, staffed and flagged by U.S. citizens or
residents. A dearth of these ships boosts freight costs.
Ultra-low sulfur diesel supply challenges will be
exacerbated because more of the fuel will be required to replace
heating oil due to changing environmental specifications in the
U.S. Northeast. Because heating oil that meets the new
specifications is unavailable outside the United States, it will
need to come from the refineries along the U.S. Gulf, carried
either by pipeline or by tankers that fall under the Jones Act.
The EIA said demand for the fuel will grow by 20 percent
over the 360,000 bpd used in 2011.