Alkylation Unit At Largest East Coast Refinery "Completely Destroyed" After Inferno, Restart Unclear

Following the explosion and subsequent inferno at Philadelphia Energy Solutions' oil refinery last week, its alkylation unit has been "completely destroyed". After fire tore through the east coast’s largest refinery, workers are now getting a chance to finally assess some damage that will hamper the normal production of fuel going forward.

According to Reuters, the refinery could remain shut down for an extended period of time even though NBC Philadelphia reported on Sunday that the blaze had finally been extinguished and air quality testing in the area was taking place. Philadelphia Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said that the cause of the fire remained unclear on Friday, but reports did say that "the gas valve that had been fueling the blaze was shut off and the tank involved in the explosion was isolated".

Following the plume from the explosion - NBC Philadelphia

So far, air quality testing has not found anything unsafe, according to officials. 

After a leak in an alkylation unit, an explosion sent the complex ablaze, forcing the Girard Point section of the refinery to shut down. The Point Breeze section had already been under repair due to a fire earlier this month. Due to the fact that it is a chemical fire, officials said last week that it could burn for a lengthy amount of time.

Four staff members are reported to have suffered minor injuries as a result of the explosion.  Mayor Jim Kenney said: "My initial reaction was 'Damn, this is bad. It was a frightening scene. I'm thankful that no one got killed or seriously injured.”

"We will see what the federal and state authorities say, if that's what is called for that's what we will do," Kenney continued.

Neighbors are protesting the refinery, with one telling NBC: "I have witnessed it for years, blowing up. This is bad, people. Enough is enough."

Recall, our last article on the refinery fire pointed out that gasoline futures spiked the day of the incident.

The Philadelphia refinery is "the largest such plant on the U.S. East Coast and the main supplier to the local gasoline market."

Gasoline demand nationwide was already at a record last week, nearing 10 million barrels per day.