Gas price experts blame refinery closings and summer blend switch on rising prices

9:47 AM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - You've heard it for some time now that they have struck gold in North Dakota.

"We may see production levels hit at least a million barrels a day we may see it go beyond that in the coming years," Justin Krigstad of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority said Thursday of the oil in that state.

So why can't that help?

Well, it's spoken for, that's why.

Of the 782,000 barrels of oil produced in North Dakota a day, 71 percent of it is shipped by rail to the west, east and gulf coasts.

The remaining 29 percent is divided between the Great Lakes region, including Minnesota.

Why?

North Dakota deals its crude oil like everyone else, it sells in contracts at the best price.

Here in Minnesota we get 80 percent of our oil from Alberta Canada, that is then refined in the upper Midwest region.

Which leads us to our current issue of record high gas prices as three of those refineries are shut down.

It has Senator Amy Klobuchar fuming.

So much so she wrote a letter to the Department of Energy's Secretary.

"They have to monitor this better and tell these refineries they can't all go down at the same time and artificially push up the price of gas," Klobuchar told KARE 11 Thursday.

Sen. Klobuchar's point is valid and supported too by the fact that the rest of the country isn't getting this 15 percent increase with the triple refinery shut down excuse.

"One state shouldn't suddenly have oil prices quick shoot up and gas prices shoot up at the time when we have some record surplus of oil and we saw the barrel just go down to 94 bucks," Klobuchar said.

She said she expects a response from the Energy Secretary as to how to fix this and prevent it from happening again soon.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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