The following is an excerpt from Janet McGurty | April 4, 2012 | Reuters.com |
(Reuters) – In 1902, the S.S. Paraguay set sail from Texas carrying the first shipment of 400,000 barrels of oil from the Spindletop field to a new refinery on the Delaware River.
The Pew family, which had large holdings in Texas, built the plant to help absorb the gusher of crude that had unexpectedly emerged in east Texas, which lacked refining capacity and sufficient demand for the fuel. The Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania plant, perched at the tip of a spit of land, would provide both.
Amid another U.S. oil market upheaval more than a century later, the roles are reversed: a new kind of oil from Texas and North Dakota may rescue some East Coast refiners from the brink of oblivion, providing a local alternative to the costly imported crude that had threatened to put them out of business.
While it appears too late to spare Marcus Hook, which has been shuttered since December, evidence of new buying interest has emerged this week for two other major plants, potentially saving the Northeast region from a summer fuel squeeze that had unnerved politicians all the way to the White House.
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