Kansas Fuel Marketers Seek Waiver

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Kansas Fuel Marketers Seek Waiver

NEW YORK -- Kansas fuel marketers are seeking a temporary waiver from truck-driving regulations to boost supply in the region following the shutdown of Coffeyville Resources LLC's oil refinery, Dow Jones reported.

A major fuel supplier, the 108,000-barrel-a-day Coffeyville, Kan., plant shut down over the weekend as the nearby Verdigris River overflowed its banks. Floodwaters have shut the refinery, terminal and rack, or truckloading facility, the report stated.

If the governor's office grants the waiver, drivers of fuel tanker trucks would be allowed to spend more than 11 hours on the road without facing the usual fines, the head of the Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association of Kansas said Tuesday in the report. Tankers could then drive to more distant terminals and endure the longer waits created by the supply disruption.

"It's the wait to get the fuel and not so much the drive," said Tom Palace, the group's executive director. The rule is in place to ensure driver safety.

With 18 counties already declared disaster areas in Kansas, it shouldn't be difficult to get the waiver, Palace said.

A waiver of about two weeks should allow enough flexibility for supply to be maintained as floodwaters recede and retail outlets re-open and clear water from storage tanks, the report stated

The Coffeyville closure will put serious stress on the fuel supply system of Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Missouri, Palace said. South Dakota fuel marketers are already seeking a similar waiver on trucker driving hours.

Kansas fuel supply is tight due to fires earlier this year at Valero Energy Corp.'s (VLO) McKee refinery in Texas and at the Wynnewood refinery in Oklahoma. In addition, a tornado shut a terminal in western Kansas, and a terminal in Salina was flooded.

"Any disruption is tough," Palace said. "We've had a quite a year with Mother Nature."