U.S. gasoline prices rise after Antwerp refinery fire


NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline prices rose closeto 1 percent on Tuesday after a blast halted production at alarge European refinery which exports some gasoline to theUnites States.

One person was killed and two are missing following anexplosion at Total's 360,000 barrels per day (bpd)Antwerp, Belgium oil refinery which forced it to halt gasolineproduction.

"It seems like a rather serious blast, and given how big anexporter of gasoline to the U.S. the refinery is, gasolineprices are likely to find a boost," said Amrita Sen, chiefanalyst at consultants Energy Aspects.

The United States imported some 59,000 barrels-per-day(bpd)of oil products, on average, from Belgium in August,according to U.S. government data, some 6,000 bpd of which werefinished gasoline.

The fire and ensuing shutdown also boosted heating oilprices as distillate stocks in Europe will fall and thecontinent will be forced to rely on U.S. exports as thosesupplies remain tight.

U.S. gasoline futures traded as much as 2.19 cents agallon higher to $2.6787 a gallon. Heating oil futures gained as much as 2.09 cents to $2.9431.

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