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BP’s Indiana Refinery to Remain Shut for Three Weeks

BP’s refinery in Whiting, Indiana, will remain shut for at least three weeks following a facility-wide power outage a week ago.

Speaking to Reuters, unnamed sources familiar with developments said the following weeks will see a series of inspections carried out at the facility to ensure it is fit to return to operation.

In case the inspectors uncover any damage, the shutdown will be extended until the damage is fixed. In case of ho damage, the refinery could reopen in two weeks, the Reuters sources said.

The Whiting refinery has the capacity to process 435,000 barrels of crude daily. The facility is the largest refinery in the Midwest and BP’s largest in North America. As such, its shutdown may have an impact on the national supply of fuels, especially middle distillates, where stocks continue to be below the seasonal average.

This was not a big problem last year when demand for diesel fuel was depressed by a manufacturing sector struck by higher interest rates but now manufacturing is on the rebound and demand is expected to start climbing. Unless supply follows, prices will move higher, eventually affecting the recovering activity of the sector.

BP earlier this week reported forecast-beating profits for 2023 and said it will accelerate share buybacks. Full-year earnings of $13.83 billion were half the record-high level of $27.65 billion earnings for 2022 when Big Oil raked in huge profits amid soaring oil and gas prices and volatility in oil and gas trading. Nevertheless, the full-year 2023 earnings also beat analyst expectations.

“At current market conditions and subject to maintaining a strong investment grade credit rating, bp plans share buybacks of at least $14 billion through 2025 as part of our commitment, on a point forward basis, to returning at least 80% of surplus cash flow to shareholders,” the UK supermajor said.

“As we look ahead, our destination remains unchanged – from IOC to IEC – focused on growing the value of bp,” said CEO Murray Auchincloss, who was recently elected permanent chief executive succeeding Bernard Looney, who resigned in the autumn over failing to disclose relationships with colleagues.

By Charles Kennedy for