Gasless in Seattle?

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: The shutdown of one of the nation's largest oil fields is raising some serious questions about the health of these older oil fields. Oil first started flowing at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in 1977. BP says what's coming up now is mostly water. Water has carbon dioxide. Carbon Dixoide corrodes pipelines. So there ya have it. The shutdown takes out 8 percent of the nation's oil production. But one part of the country might feel the squeeze more than others. Jason Paur explains.


JASON PAUR: Refineries in western Washington State get all of their crude oil supplies shipped in by ocean tankers. And more than half of that comes from Alaska.

In contrast, California refineries get only about 20% from the 49th State.

With its reliance on Alaskan crude, the Pacific Northwest is likely to see a hike in fuel prices sooner, and for a longer duration, than the rest of the country, energy analysts say.

Sam Van Vactor is with Economic Insight.

SAM VAN VACTOR: The Pacific Northwest has always been dependent on outside sources. It is often the case that shortages show up here first before anywhere else.

But Van Vactor says the good news is there might not be a better time for a supply interruption.

The summer driving season is drawing to a close. And by the time heating oil is needed, other supplies should have reached to the region.

In Seattle, I'm Jason Paur for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...