October 9, 2018 12:13 pm
Updated: October 9, 2018 12:39 pm

Blast at Irving Oil’s Saint John refinery unlikely to hit gas prices

Flames billowed into the air on Monday in Saint John, New Brunswick as a fire raged at Irving Oil following reports of an explosion.

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The explosion that rocked Irving Oil’s Saint John refinery on Monday is unlikely to affect the price of gas in Canada, according to experts.

Fuel market analysts say the quick return to the facility and the fact that fuel storage tanks are likely full mean the refinery shutdown should have little short-term impact on consumers.

READ MORE: ‘We’re very grateful’: No serious injuries following explosion at Saint John refinery

In a tweet, the company says the refinery as a whole is safe and the site of the incident is “isolated and contained.”

Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, says gasoline prices in the key New York Harbour market were actually trending lower on Tuesday morning as storage levels in the northeastern U.S. are 20 per cent higher than they were a year ago.

WATCH: Explosion at Irving Oil refinery shakes Saint John


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Michael Ervin, senior vice-president at the Kent Group Ltd., says even if Irving’s refinery maintenance shutdown is extended because of damage from the explosion, the fact it is on the ocean means alternative supplies of fuel can easily be brought in from offshore to ensure there are no shortages and resulting price increases.

There were as many as 3,000 workers at the refinery on Monday, which produces more than 320,000 barrels of energy products per day.

READ MORE: Saint John residents warned about possible flare-ups after massive oil refinery explosion

The company says crews working to maintain the refinery will be back on site this evening after it was determined there are no lingering air quality or safety concerns after the explosion Monday.

“Through our continuous air monitoring, we have determined that there are no concerns with regards to air quality,” Irving stated.

“Accordingly, we are currently planning to have our turnaround team back on site this evening for the night shift. Our plans for returning to full turnaround mode will be discussed at that time.”

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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