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Biggest NY harbor oil terminal resumes partial operations

(Reuters) - The 16-million-barrel International-Matex Tank Terminals oil terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey has partially re-opened following power losses due to superstorm Sandy, its operator said on Saturday.

The fuel terminal, the biggest in the New York Harbor, is still "coming back online," said terminal manager Richard Fisette.

As of Saturday, around half of the facilities at the site were back to normal operation and the major regional fuel repository was awaiting nominations, or orders to ship out fuel, from its customers, Fisette said.

A pipeline serving the facility is operational and damage assessments at the site have not indicated fuel leakage from tanks or pipelines there, Fisette added.

Bayonne, New Jersey was hard hit by Sandy and, like other low-lying areas of the Northeast, suffered flooding and power outages when Sandy made landfall on Monday.

A part owner of the IMTT terminal, Macquarie, said on Friday that the terminal was expected to restart next week.

The Bayonne terminal, which houses 620 tanks, is located 10 miles south of Manhattan and covers an area of 600 acres. It includes loading and unloading facilities for truck and rail, and a dedicated IMTT pipeline linking it to the main long-haul oil product pipelines into the Northeast region.

Located in both New York and New Jersey, the New York Harbor's facilities can store more than 75 million barrels of oil. IMTT's terminal accounts for around a fifth of the Harbor's total capacity.

The Harbor resumed operations and ship traffic on Friday, but oil industry sources say that supply chains are still under strain, and some other New York Harbor fuel terminals are still completely shut.

Retail gasoline and heating oil distribution remains strained following Sandy. Some heating oil distributors in the New York City area said on Friday they are uncertain when regular shipments of heating fuel will resume from the Harbor to distribution centers around the city.

IMTT, headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, owns and operates 10 marine storage terminals in the United States and is the part owner and operator of two terminals in Canada. It has a storage capacity of more than 43 million barrels across all its terminals.

(Reporting by Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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