Blaze at largest refinery on the US east coast will spur Atlantic product tanker sector

A huge fire that broke out at America’s largest east coast refinery early on Friday morning is likely to have significant repercussions for the product tanker sector.

The pre-dawn explosion and blaze at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Refining Complex took 36 hours to extinguish. The refinery is one of the oldest in the US and with a capacity of 335,000 barrels per day it is the largest on the east coast.

Analysts at tanker brokers Poten & Partners noted in their most recent weekly report that it is likely that the Atlantic product tanker market and, to a lesser degree, the crude tanker market will notice the fall-out.

“If the PES refinery remains offline for an extended period of time, product tanker demand will increase as the region may need to import up to 30% more products, mainly by tankers. Currently, Canada is the main source for imports but it is unlikely that they can satisfy all the increased demand, so much of the additional imports will come from further away, mainly Europe and from the Middle East and India,” Poten stated.

Investigations into how the huge blaze started are set to get underway today.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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