Monday, February 26, 2007

Refinery explosion in Texas Panhandle may ripple to Colorado Springs

A fire and explosion at Valero Energy Corp.'s Texas Panhandle McKee refinery on Feb. 16 is expected to have widespread repercussions, including in Colorado Springs.

A propane leak is being blamed for the accident, and 14 people ended up hospitalized, with a contractor seriously burned.

The refinery was shut down until Feb. 20, along with pipelines that ship Valero's petroleum products to Colorado Springs, Denver, El Paso, Lubbock and Albuquerque.

Industry analysts expect gas prices in these cities to rise. But other areas are being affected as well. Reuters reported wholesale gasoline prices jumped 9 cents a gallon in the Los Angeles spot market because of a boost in demand for Arizona gasoline and because McKee is a major supplier to Arizona.

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