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BP plans to restart damaged Whiting, Indiana, refinery power system in days -sources

·2-min read
A British Petroleum logo is seen at a petrol station in south London

By Erwin Seba

HOUSTON (Reuters) - BP Plc plans to restore power to a repaired electrical system at its 435,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Whiting, Indiana, refinery within two to three days, sources familiar with plant operations said on Monday.

Repair crews have made significant progress on restoring the refinery's boilers to operation, the sources said.

"The team is working diligently to bring back refinery operations in the coming days," BP spokesperson Christina Audisho said in an emailed statement.

Audisho said the company "has deployed all available resources to restore production as soon as possible."

A Wednesday fire on a single electrical system at the refinery brought down several units and shut the refinery's cooling water system, forcing the entire refinery - the largest in the upper U.S. Midwest - to be temporarily idled.

BP called in almost all of the refinery’s employees to work on restoring production as fall harvest season begins.

"This is not a months-long event," one of the sources said. "This is a days-long event."

Motor fuel prices continued to rise in the Chicago market on Monday due to uncertainty over the status of the Whiting refinery, traders said.

Chicago CBOB gasoline gained 11.99 cents, trading 13.99 cents per gallon above futures, while Chicago ultra-low sulfur diesel was little changed, trading 22 cents per gallon above diesel futures, traders said.

Because of the Whiting shutdown, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency waived through Sept. 15 federal regulations for fuel volatility on gasoline sold in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to facilitate the supply of fuel.

The U.S. Transportation Department issued an exemption to maximum driving time rules for truck drivers transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products to the four states.

Whiting is the sixth-biggest refinery by capacity in the United States and the company's largest in the nation, according the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Bill Berkrot)