Image From nj.com
According to the utility companies in New York and New Jersey, power is being restored and significant progress is being made with each passing day. Why then, do we still see gas lines?

Because, the severity of the storm damage to area refineries has reduced their output to just 58.5 percent of capacity. And that may be the lowest level of east coast refinery output recorded in many years.

Apparently, damage sustained by Sandy at the Phillips 66 Bayway refinery in NJ was more extensive than the company had initially discussed.

When Sandy came ashore last week, the Bayway Refinery in Linden, N.J. took on 12 feet of salt water, according to Rich Johnson, a spokesman for Phillips 66, the refinery’s parent company. Floodwaters damaged critical equipment, hampering the facility’s ability to pump gasoline into pipelines that are typically accessed by tanker trucks.

“We had a lot of electrical equipment that was damaged,” said Johnson.

The Bayway refinery is the most productive refinery in the tri-state region, processing about 238,000 barrels of crude oil per day. On the East Coast, Bayway is second only to a former Sunoco plant operated by Philadelphia Energy Solutions, which has a production capacity of 335,000 barrels a day.

In New York, NBC News' Chriso Glorioso reports that as a result of the problems at Bayway and other storm-damaged petroleum terminals, many delivery trucks must fill up with wholesale gasoline at terminals in the Philadelphia area, severely delaying shipments to New York and New Jersey gas stations.

“The south Jersey terminals are so overwhelmed that they are finding there is a three-, four- and five-hour wait to pull the truck under the rack and fill and then another two-hour trip back,” said Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline Convenience Store Automotive Association.

Glorioso said that a statement on Phillips 66 website predicted it would be two to three weeks before the refinery would be able to pump gasoline out to the endpoints along northern New Jersey pipelines. The flood waters associated with Sandy also caused the Bayway Refinery to spill more than 7,000 gallons of fuel into Arthur Kill, the body of water between Staten Island and New Jersey.

Phillips 66 did not elaborate on what percentage of the Bayway facility’s gasoline delivery capacity has been crippled.

Other gasoline distribution facilities also suffered mightily during Sandy. Hess has given no public timeframe for the repairs necessary to fix its damaged Port Reading facility in Woodbridge Township, N.J.

Also in Woodbridge Township, N.J., two diesel storage tanks owned by Motiva Enterprises were ruptured during the storm, releasing at least 330,000 gallons of fuel into the Arthur Kill, which separates New Jersey and Staten Island. It’s not clear when those damaged tanks will be repaired or what impact the damage has had on the region’s supply chain.

Suffice to say, the problems in the northeast are improving... but we've got a long way to go before things return to anything close to normal.