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The temporary shutdown of Marathon Petroleum Corp.'s Detroit refinery shouldn't affect gas prices in the Toledo or Detroit areas, a petroleum analyst said.
The two-month shutdown, part of a $2.2 billion project, is to begin Sept. 4 and is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Marathon Petroleum spokesman Shane Pochard said. The project will allow Marathon Petroleum to process heavy Canadian oil, he said.
"During that time the refinery is not running, but we still have employees working on maintenance projects," he said.
No employees at Marathon Petroleum's refinery are to be laid off during that time, Mr. Pochard said. The facility produces 106,000 barrels a calendar day and is the fourth-largest producer of the company's six refineries, according to Marathon Petroleum's Web site.
Marathon Petroleum's Detroit facility is the only refinery in Michigan, and the gas stations and other businesses supplied by it have been informed of the shutdown, Mr. Pochard said.
"We don't really speculate on what gas prices may or may not do," he said. "We notified folks we supply of the outage so they can make other arrangements."
The lapse in production shouldn't raise prices, said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. Because Findlay-based Marathon Petroleum planned the shutdown ahead of time, people will have had time to prepare, he said.
Even if there were an increase in gas prices, it would be only a few cents, Mr. DeHaan said.
The timing also is opportune because it falls at the end of the summer driving season, when gas prices typically are lower, he said.
"Other than issues during the planned outage, barring that, this refinery maintenance shouldn't have a lot of an impact on retail prices," Mr. DeHaan said.
Gas prices nationwide are already high.
U.S. drivers paid an average of $3.702 a gallon Monday, according to gasbuddy.com, which can be found at toledoblade.com/gas. A year ago, the average was $3.587.
The average price in the Toledo area Tuesday was $3.632, down from $3.845 a week earlier.
Contact Kris Turner at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6103.