Southern NJ Refinery May Reopen Thanks to Shale Fracking

A closed refinery in West Deptford Township (Gloucester County), NJ may soon reopen thanks to hydraulic fracturing. The refinery, owned by Sunoco, is looking at two possibilities: Refine oil from the Bakken Shale region of North Dakota; or convert the refinery into a processing plant to move and store ethane from the Marcellus Shale region.

Two years after Sunoco closed Eagle Point Refinery here, plans for the 1,100-acre industrial space that once hummed with hundreds of workers are beginning to emerge.

At a recent Westville council meeting, Kevin Thompson, Sunoco’s public affairs manager, announced two possible scenarios. One that Sunoco Logistics, L.P., a subsidiary of Sunoco, will move crude oil by train from the Bakken Shale region in North Dakota to Eagle Point where it will be stored, sold and transported elsewhere by truck.

The second involves a partnership with MarkWest Liberty, a publicly traded company that gathers, processes and moves natural gas. Sunoco Logistics is “exploring options” to move ethane gas via pipeline from the Marcellus Shale region of Western Pennsylvania to the Harbor pipeline in New Jersey.

Owned jointly by Sunoco Logistics and Conoco Philips, the pipeline extends from Woodbury in Gloucester County to Linden in Union County. A byproduct of natural gas production, ethane will be stored in liquid form under low temperature at an existing port on the Delaware River. Ultimately, it will be shipped in tankers to the Gulf Coast.*

*Courier-Post (Jan 5, 2012) – South Jersey refinery could go in a new direction