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Sunoco Officials: Eagle Point Upgraded to Handle Supply Concerns

Increased storage capacity at the terminal, as well as pipeline upgrades, should help if more refineries in the area shut down, company officials said.

Major upgrades are in the works at what's now the terminal to help stave off concerns from the federal government, among others, over reduced refining capacity and its effects on gas supplies in the Northeast, Sunoco officials said in a statement released on the corporation's website.

Two million barrels of storage are coming into service this year, on top of three million barrels of storage already in use at Eagle Point, , and Sunoco Logistics officials said more storage could be opened up if needed. More than 70 tanks sit on the property, and workers were welding expansions on to several tanks on one portion of the complex at the end of January.

“We are confident that we can continue to supply our retail network, as well as our commercial customers,” the statement said.

Officials said the company has also made upgrades to rail transport in and out of the Eagle Point complex, as well as the port, with the ability to handle ships with up to a million barrels of capacity at the deep-water port on the Delaware River.

Along with pipeline improvements, company officials said Eagle Point is able to supply Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York with gasoline, diesel and other refined products.

The announcement of the upgrades at Eagle Point comes after a federal report released at the end of February raised concerns over a possible supply gap resulting from Sunoco shutting down the Marcus Hook refinery, and potentially idling the company's Philadelphia refinery later this year, as the company tries to sell that facility.

The 335,000-barrel-per-day Philadelphia refinery represents around a quarter of the entire refining capacity in the Northeast, and a Department of Energy report indicated there could be price spikes in the wake of its closure, if there isn't adequate supply available to cover the loss of refining capacity.

“Petroleum product markets in the Northeast could be significantly impacted,” the report reads. “The potential loss of the Sunoco Philadelphia refinery presents a complex supply challenge.”

Logistical challenges in moving supplies through pipelines to New York and Pennsylvania could linger for a year or more, that report indicated, due to changes that would have to be made to reverse the flow of those pipelines.

Sunoco officials said plans are in place to reverse multiple pipelines in the region, and said pipelines at Eagle Point have already been connected into three other Northeast pipeline systems to help with supply.

The Eagle Point refinery's permanent closure in early 2010 removed about 145,000 barrels of refining capacity from the region, and Sunoco's move to idle Marcus Hook and ConocoPhillips' idling of its Trainer, PA refinery have pulled out another 360,000 barrels of refining capacity.

, and company officials have said they're trying to sell the Marcus Hook and Philadelphia refineries, which they say are losing money.

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