Getting Oil and Gasoline to the East Coast

If there's any truth to the old saying about "doing well by doing good," then oil and gasoline trader stand to do quite well over the next couple of weeks. That's because the federal government has waived until November 20th enforcement of the 92-year old Jones Act, which permits only U.S.-flagged tankers to ship cargoes between U.S. ports.

The waiver is intended to increase crude oil and, especially, gasoline deliveries to the areas hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. The unintended consequence is that traders could reap a significant benefit of up to $2 million per tanker according to a report at Reuters.

BP plc (NYSE: BP) has applied for waivers for two cargoes of crude oil and two (unnamed) companies have said that they will use waivers to allow them to ship fuel on foreign-flagged vessels.

Other beneficiaries of the waiver are shipping companies, which have seen day rates rise from around $10,000 to a range of $19,000 to $26,000.

The catch, though, is that it may be tricky to find a berth to unload the cargoes in New York harbor. There have been some fuel spills in the harbor related to last week's storm and there is at least one report of another spill today. Ships have been lining up for several days waiting for a berth, so there could be quite a scramble in the next few weeks.

The restart of the 285,000 barrel a day Baywater refinery owned by Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) has been delayed for two to three weeks due to salt water damage at the plant. An analyst told Reuters that replacing the Baywater refinery's production would require about 20 additional tanker cargoes a month.

The Colonial pipeline is running at capacity again, delivering 800,000 barrels a day of gasoline to New York.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Commodities, Oil & Gas Tagged: BP, featured, PSX