Gas increasing as Chevron refinery closure could last months 

click to enlarge The aftermath of the Chevron refinery fire in Richmond. - REUTERS FILE PHOTO
  • Reuters File Photo
  • The aftermath of the Chevron refinery fire in Richmond.

Repair work at the fire-damaged crude oil unit of California’s second-largest refinery could keep the unit shut for up to three months, refinery sources said Thursday as regional wholesale gasoline prices rose to their highest since May.

Crude distillation unit No. 4 at Chevron’s 245,000-barrel-per-day Richmond refinery was shut Monday night after a fire erupted at a pump leaking a substance similar to diesel, according to a preliminary report the company filed with Contra Costa County pollution regulators.

Chevron spokesman Sean Comey said there was no estimate available for when the crude distillation unit, the only one of its kind in the refinery, would resume production. All other units at the refinery continue to operate, making gasoline, diesel and jet fuel at reduced levels, he added.

Gasoline prices in the San Francisco wholesale spot market rose 5 cents on Thursday to a 40-cent premium over September.

Meanwhile, Richmond and neighboring residents concerned about the impacts of the fire at homes, gardens, playgrounds and other outdoor areas are advised to clean anything that might have been exposed to smoke, a county health official said.

The county recommends wiping down with soap and water anything that was exposed.

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