Flooded Refinery Affecting Gas Prices

Thursday, July 12th 2007, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

An Oklahoma state representative is accusing gas stations of price fixing. Oklahoma City state Representative Mike Shelton says he wants a full-scale investigation by the Oklahoma Attorney General, but News On 6 anchor Scott Thompson reports experts say Oklahoma's high gas prices start in Kansas.

It seems we’ve been here before. An historic hurricane pounds the Gulf Coast, oil operations go offline. One refinery leaks a million gallons of oil into the water supply, and gas prices around the country skyrocket. It's a smaller scale, but one swamped refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas is sparking a similar soar in the price at the pump.

"We are seeing now how tentative our situation is and how few options we have when one refinery is knocked out of operation for a while," said Dewey Bartlett, President of Keener Oil and Gas.

Dewey Bartlett is just one of the oilmen who say the closure in Coffeyville is the number one reason we're paying more for gas. The Coffeyville refinery used to crank out 100,000 barrels of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel every day. That means the market is already missing a million barrels of fuel, and that deficit grows every day the plant is offline.

Some of that oil comes to Oklahoma, while the rest fuels the Upper Midwest. Nebraska has the highest gas prices in the country right now. Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, are all paying $3.20 a gallon or higher, and only one, Connecticut, is on the coast where gas usually costs the most. And demand is not going down, with the Great Plains willing to pay more it's driving the entire country's gas prices up.

"We have to buy the gasoline from somewhere, we have to buy it, and we have to say, 'what's the price' and they quote a price and we'll pay it. We have no choice," said Bartlett.

Bartlett guesses gas prices may peak near $3.50 later this summer. He says the only reasonable solution is to build more refineries, so a single plant doesn't put everyone's prices in jeopardy.

Watch the video: Flooded Refinery Affecting Prices At The Pump

For more flooding information, check out our STORM ZONE web page.