The petroleum terminal that supplies the Omaha area with a significant portion of its gasoline shut down on Sunday as a result of flooding.
Bruce Heine, spokesman for Magellan Midstream Partners, said the company suspended the filling of trucks after flooding made conditions unsafe for workers and put the assets there at risk.
The City of Omaha has made keeping that terminal open one of its top priorities, along with maintaining access to Eppley Airfield. The Magellan terminal — hulking above-ground cylindrical tanks near Abbott Drive — is located at 2205 N. 11th St.
The company does not have an estimate for when normal operation will resume, Heine said.
Those who monitor the movement of gasoline in the metropolitan area said it's too early to say how this will affect gas prices.
“We'll have to see how long this lasts. There are so many variables, it's hard to predict,” said Tim Keigher, executive director of the Nebraska Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association.
Keigher and Heine both said there are other terminals in the area that can pick up the slack.
However, what's not known is whether the shuffling of supply points will create congestion and lengthen turnaround times to keep gas stations supplied.
Additionally, if semis have to drive farther to get gasoline to take to service stations, that additional transport time and cost will add to the cost of gasoline at the pump.
Magellan's terminal has a number of large tanks holding several different grades of gasoline, ethanol, diesel and jet fuel. The fuel arrives there via an interstate pipeline system.
At the terminal, semi-tank trucks off-load the fuel for local distribution. It's this part of the process that is being disrupted. The provision of jet fuel to Eppley is not being disrupted, because the airport is served by a pipeline.
Steve Oltmans, Mayor Jim Suttle's chief of staff, said the city has been bringing in more and larger pumps to evacuate water from the lowlands around the terminal and Abbott Drive.
Heine said people should not fear a shortage of gasoline.
Magellan also owns terminals in Lincoln, Sioux City and Des Moines. The Sioux City terminal is not at risk of flooding.
“We do have adequate supplies,” he said.
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