Sept 28 (Reuters) - BP Plc laid off most
contractors at the approximately 160,000 barrel-per-day Toledo,
Ohio, refinery it owns with Cenovus Energy Inc,
according to sources familiar with the matter on Wednesday,
indicating that the plant will experience a prolonged shutdown
following last week's explosion and fire.
The explosion killed two United Steelworkers members,
identified as brothers Max and Ben Morrissey.
The more than 100-year-old refinery has been offline since
the middle of last week following the explosion and could be
shut for several months.
At least one contracting company is on site assessing the
damage. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is also investigating the
incident, which it said additionally caused the release of
sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide and significant property
Cenovus has referred comment to BP, which has declined to
The outage caused Chicago gasoline cash differentials to
reach new highs on Wednesday.
Chicago CBOB gasoline <CBOB-DIFF-MC> gained 7.75
cents, trading 80 cents per gallon above futures on the New York
Mercantile Exchange, traders said, more than 700% higher than
prices were a year ago.
The official cause of the explosion has not been reported.
Leaking fumes from a crude unit may have caused the ignition in
another unit at the facility, a source told Reuters. Multiple
units were engulfed in flames, the source said.
Workers finished a maintenance turnaround at the facility in
recent weeks and the plant had resumed operating.
In August, Cenovus said it would buy the remaining 50% stake
it does not already own in the BP-Husky Toledo Refinery. The
deal is expected to close by the end of 2022.
In 2008, Husky Energy Inc formed a joint venture with BP by
acquiring a 50% stake in the Toledo refinery. The stake then
moved to Calgary-based Cenovus when it combined with Husky in
(Reporting by Laura Sanicola; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa