(c) Anthony Raia
A refinery fire Wednesday has the potential to temporarily throw a towel in to a recent run of declining prices in a few Great Lakes states in the week ahead.
According to several sources, a refinery fire hit Citgo's Lemont, IL refinery outside Chicago and resulted in several units going offline at the facility. While no one was injured, damage reports have not yet surfaced. Gasoline markets were already responding, however, with wholesale gasoline prices spiking initially.
The only caveat is that motorists may not see prices rise at the pump, rather prices may not decline as far as they otherwise would. In the three days before the accident, wholesale prices in the region had fallen to their lowest level in 2013, but rising wholesale prices after the fire will offset those declines, meaning motorists may not see prices rising, but won't see prices dropping as would have otherwise been the case.
The fire at the refinery started around 7:40 p.m. Wednesday in a unit that processes crude oil, according to Pete Colarelli, a spokesman for Citgo.
"The crude unit was immediately shut down," Colarelli said. No injuries were reported and the refinery complex was not evacuated, he said.
"The refinery is conducting air monitoring and is working closely with Will County Emergency Management and local fire departments," he said.
We'll continue to monitor this event and are awaiting how long Citgo expects the unit to be offline.