Refinery strike threatens US Northeast’s already dwindling fuel supplies ahead of winter

By Jack McEvoy

Strikes at British Petroleum’s (BP) largest European refinery in the Netherlands are halting diesel production, which could exacerbate U.S. fuel shortages ahead of winter, according to Bloomberg.

Striking refinery workers are refusing to fix a steam outage that is halting production and say they will not resume operations even if the issue is fully repaired, meaning that BP’s Rotterdam refinery, which can process 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day, will remain shut down, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile, New England’s stocks of distillate fuel oil, which is refined into diesel and winter heating oil, are nearing all-time lows, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

“We regret that the unions have decided to proceed with strike action at the bp Rotterdam refinery,” BP said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “As a result, the planned restart of the refinery has been put on hold and operations remain shut down.”

The Biden administration is also mulling a plan that would force oil companies to store a minimum amount of diesel in their fuel tanks, which could raise fuel prices further in areas like New England, according to Bloomberg. Diesel and heating oil shortages are most pronounced in the northeastern U.S. as the region has become dependent on distillate fuel imports due to its constrained pipeline capacity.

The U.S. has just 26 days of diesel remaining in its commercial inventories and a gallon of diesel is roughly $1.58 more expensive than it was in November 2021, according to the Energy Information Administration. The price of heating oil, a fuel most commonly used in New England to heat homes, has also gone up by 65%since October 2021.

The administration could also deploy the Northeast’s emergency stockpile of 1 million fuel barrels to address shortages in New England. However, because diesel demand is so high, the reserve’s supply would last less than six hours, according to The Washington Post.

Refinery workers began partially striking on Nov. 14 after BP rejected their unions’ salary demands, according to Quantum Commodity Intelligence. The two unions, which represent 440 of the 730 workers at the plant, wanted a three-year share match scheme worth 3.35% and a 6% salary raise retroactive to April 2022.

“We remain in dialogue with the unions to reach an agreement and minimize the consequences,” BP said.

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2 thoughts on “Refinery strike threatens US Northeast’s already dwindling fuel supplies ahead of winter

  1. Yup Jeff the leftist commies have decided we can’t have refineries here any longer as they don’t fit the mold for green weenie power. Much the same with the whole oil industry the more they meddle in it the worst it gets. bidens supposed work with the railroad contract is about to explode as well causing even more cost of and shortage of everything moved by rail. Thanks D’rat voters for prolonging the pain, The whippings will continue until moral improves…

  2. “Progressive Lib Enviro Dopies” do not know that almost all the heating oil in VT comes from Europe? Yup. Which is why the strike in ROTTERDAM is impactful.. Much of this is caused by, guess who? Dems & Enviros. It is entities like VT’s own Conservation Law Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, etc…that seek to halt any new pipelines needed to transport needed fuel oil, or gas….they also seek to shut down oil storage faclities in northeast..because they are mostly around ports (like Boston) and “Global Warming rising sea levels” will flood them. Next cause of shortage? Democrats – and UNIONS. The JONES ACT halts any foreign flagged ship to deliver oil and such IN BETWEEN US PORTS (but they can “drop off” loads). This protects Unions here. But the USA unionized ship fleet is small, compared to worldwide fleets.. There are: “As of January 2022, there were some 56 tankers and 22 container ships in the Jones Act fleet””….and they are older and are smaller mostly. So it is unprofitable $$ to take a very “small” load of oil from our far away Gulf Coast – to far away Boston. But IT could be profitable for foreign flagged SUPER size, huge tankers to pick up in our Gulf and deliver it to Boston – for New England……but it IS ILLEGAL for a foreign tanker pickup fuel oil in our Gulf, then deliver to Boston (and for VT.). This protects UNION ship jobs…and it part of why there is a diesel/heating oil shortage here… VT’s heating oil is largely from EUROPE! No new pipelines allowed, no foreign tankers allowed in USA port-to-port (they just “drop off” fuel oil from Rotterdam in super size tanker to Boston – and return EMPTY!)…and don’t forget the CLF and other Enviro LawFare groups in VT want to shut down ALL fossil fuels. 🙂

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