A fire is burning at the PES Philadelphia oil refinery, the largest complex in the state, prompting local authorities to close roads in the area.
The fire isn’t under control yet, according to two officials at the local fire authority, who declined to be identified in line with policy. Residents and businesses in the area have been asked to stay indoors until further notice, the City of Philadelphia office of emergency management said in a tweet.
PES Philadelphia couldn’t immediately comment when reached by phone.
The PES complex, which comprises the Point Breeze and Girard Point plants, can handle a total of 335,000 barrels of crude a day, making it one of the biggest refineries on the U.S. East Coast and the main supplier of fuel to the New York Harbor market. The Point Breeze section was already undergoing repairs following a fire in a pump that occurred earlier this month.
The refinery’s importance in supplying fuels to the U.S. East Coast is a concern given that any interruption would come at a time of peak summer demand for gasoline. Nationwide gasoline demand hit a record last week, nudging closer to 10 million barrels a day, according to government statistics released Wednesday.
Stockpiles of gasoline in the central Atlantic region, including the states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, stand at 32.4 million barrels, just below their five-year average for this time of year. Gasoline futures for July delivery rose as much as 3.5 per cent to US$1.8482 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 6:37 a.m. U.S. Eastern time.
There have been refining operations for 150 years at the site, which has passed through a series of owners, including Chevron Corp. and Sunoco Inc. before being consolidated into Philadelphia Energy Solutions, a partnership formed between Carlyle Group and Energy Transfer Partners’ Sunoco.
--With assistance from Dan Murtaugh and Katerina Petroff.