OREANDA-NEWS. Houston New access for midcontinent refiners to eastern markets has already reduced east coast shipments into Pennsylvania, Buckeye Partners said today.

The midstream operator attributed a 40,000 b/d drop in shipments across Buckeye's pipeline system to new volumes from Ohio refiners into the state.

"The decline resulted from lower volumes on our central Pennsylvania system as a result of seasonal arbitrage from changing product flows as midwest refiners increase supply to western Pennsylvania markets," chief financial officer Keith Goodwin said.

Buckeye has its own plans to expand access from Michigan and Ohio into the Pittsburgh market. Construction began late last year and the expansion should become operational before 2017. The company was already in discussions on a second phase of the expansion.

Midcontinent refiners have few outlets for production volumes that have increased over the past five years. Companies there have already crept into the edges of the US Gulf coast in Texas and Arkansas.

The New York Harbor market offers an alluring next target. Ohio and Chicago-area refiners have begun nibbling into western Pennsylvania through Sunoco Logistics' 85,000 b/d Allegheny Access pipeline.

Shipments come as both midcontinent and east coast refiners work to manage an oversupplied products market. PBF Energy said yesterday poor gasoline margins led it to cut throughputs at its 170,000 b/d refinery in Toledo, Ohio, by 11pc. The US independent refiner was operating its 190,000 b/d facility in Delaware City, Delaware, at roughly 60pc capacity as it works to repair a coking unit. Delta Air Lines subsidiary Monroe Energy has also cut throughputs at its 185,000 b/d refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania, for poor margins.

But those run cuts had not shown up in products flows across Buckeye's system, the company said.

"We still are very much driven by a demand-pull type system throughout the markets we serve," Goodwin said. "The run cuts are supplemented in other areas to satisfy regional demand."

Buckeye reported a $134mn profit in the fourth quarter, more than double the same quarter last year. Full year 2015 profit increased by more than $164mn to $437.2mn.