explosion/fire at bp texas refinery

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    From Bloomberg:

    March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil in New York rose to a four- day high after an explosion at BP Plc's Texas refinery.

    BP said an explosion caused a fire in a gasoline unit at its 470,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Texas City. Fire crews are working to put out the blaze, said Annie Smith, BP's manager of public affairs for the Gulf Coast region in Texas.

    Crude oil for May delivery rose as much as 45 cents to $36.72 a barrel at 11:48 a.m. Singapore time in after-hours trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gasoline for April delivery rose 1.78 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $1.1740 a gallon.

    The blast follows a March 25 alert from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that refineries in Texas may be attacked by terrorists.

    ``The fear is that maybe this is a terror attack,'' said Anthony Nunan, a manager of international petroleum business at Mitsubishi Corp. in Tokyo. ``People feel it's better to be safe than sorry and are buying oil.''

    BP's Smith said she didn't know what caused the fire. ``We don't have any awareness of outside'' involvement in the explosion, she said in a telephone interview.

    The oil-price gain adds to a 2.3 percent increase yesterday after six OPEC ministers said the group should proceed with production cuts to prevent prices sliding in the second quarter.

    The refinery fire increased concern about U.S. gasoline shortages before the peak demand season in the third-quarter.

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