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Good Question: ‘Reply All’: Where Does Minnesota’s Gas Come From?

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Tom and Marcia Sheppleman asked: Where does Minnesota’s gas come from?

Almost all of Minnesota’s gasoline is refined here in Minnesota, according to the Department of Commerce. The Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery near Rosemount makes 70 percent of the state’s gas. The rest comes from the Marathon Refinery in St. Paul Park.

Minnesota’s oil comes almost exclusively from Canada. But the amount fluctuates, according to Jake Reint, spokesman for Flint Hills in Minnesota.

He said that 80 to 90 percent of the oil for they purchase to make gasoline is from Canada. Pine Bend also brings oil in from North Dakota. In the past they’ve brought some in from the Gulf of Mexico.

Sheila from Stacy asked: What does a couple closed Chicago refineries have to do with our prices?

Because those repairs are taking a while, Minnesota refineries were selling gas to Chicago, according to Patrick DeHaan, petroleum analyst from GasBuddy.com. Right now the entire region has a tight supply… and so prices here jumped quickly.

Diane Runyan from New Brighton: Where is the North Dakota oil going?

According to Justin Kringstad and North Dakota’s Pipeline Authority, 71 percent of the oil goes out on train cars to refineries on the coasts.

Eight percent of the oil stays in North Dakota at its only refinery. Twenty percent goes on pipelines to the Midwest, some to Minnesota.

Dave Johnson from Owatonna: Why do they shut down several refineries at the same time?

Different companies own those refineries, and right now it would be against anti-trust laws to coordinate like that.

If you knew that two refineries were going to do maintenance, you might stockpile and take advantage of the higher price, according to Reint from Flint Hills.

“If you know the markets going to be short a certain number of barrels, you’d have a huge issue,” Reint said.

He said the equipment is set up to do maintenance on a part of the facility while continuing to produce gasoline from other parts of the operation.

“It’s a very competitive marketplace, and there are serious anti-trust rules. We don’t know what other refineries are doing,” said Reint.

Regardless, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), is calling for an investigation to see if there are ways to prevent having multiple closures in the same region at the same time.

“Scheduled maintenance should not be allowed to contribute to such a major gasoline shortage,” Klobuchar said.

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