BP To Import Fuel From Asia To Cover Wash. Refinery Outage

Feb 29, 2012

There's more evidence that a big oil refinery in Northwest Washington will be out of service for a long time. Refinery owner BP says it's arranging for replacement fuel to be shipped to the region from as far away as Singapore.

An explosion and fire knocked the BP Cherry Point refinery offline in mid-February. The facility supplies about 20 percent of the gasoline used in Washington and Oregon. Repairs have not yet started due to an ongoing investigation.

So BP spokesman Bill Kidd says the oil giant is looking far and wide for alternative supply to put into the regional distribution pipeline.

"We're able to find quite a bit of supply on the West Coast, but then we've had to go much further," he says. "We're looking to Taiwan, Singapore and Korea. It's really the next stop, the next closest place to get that material."

Kidd says it takes at least three weeks to arrange delivery of a tanker load of transportation fuel from the opposite side of the Pacific. Not surprisingly, Kidd says gasoline shipped here from Asia is more expensive than locally produced fuel, but he estimates some of the difference is already priced in at the pump.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network