Refineries likely to shut as Hurricane Irene nears
New York — Analysts say East Coast refineries are likely to close in advance of Hurricane Irene's arrival this weekend. The shutdowns are already boosting gasoline prices.
The refineries are concentrated in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where the storm could arrive by Sunday afternoon. Refineries are already starting to turn off equipment and tie things down.
Once the storm passes, it will take several days for the refineries to start operating again. And many would need almost a month to get back to full operation.
Refineries are sprawling complexes of concrete and steel that turn oil into gasoline, diesel and other kinds of fuels. While the main buildings are designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and earthquakes, some of their pipes, cooling towers and power lines are susceptible to wind damage.