Blast at Irving Oil's Saint John refinery unlikely to hit gas prices

The explosion that rocked Irving Oil's Saint John refinery on Monday is unlikely to affect the price of gas, according to experts.

Fuel market analysts say the quick return to the facility and the fact that fuel storage tanks are likely full mean the refinery shutdown should have little short-term impact on consumers.

In a tweet, the company says the refinery as a whole is safe and the site of the incident is "isolated and contained."

Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, says gasoline prices in the key New York Harbour market were actually trending lower on Tuesday morning as storage levels in the northeastern U.S. are 20 per cent higher than they were a year ago.

Michael Ervin, senior vice-president at the Kent Group Ltd., says even if Irving's refinery maintenance shutdown is extended because of damage from the explosion, the fact it is on the ocean means alternative supplies of fuel can easily be brought in from offshore to ensure there are no shortages and resulting price increases.

There were as many as 3,000 workers at the refinery on Monday, which produces more than 320,000 barrels of energy products per day.

The company says crews working to maintain the refinery will be back on site this evening after it was determined there are no lingering air quality or safety concerns after the explosion Monday.