UPDATE 5-Gasoline surges 6 pct on supply woes, expiry; oil up
* Oil up more modestly
* Concerns over Phillips 66 Linden, New Jersey, plant restart
(Recasts, updates throughout)
NEW YORK, Oct 31 (Reuters) - U.S gasoline futures surged nearly 6 percent on Wednesday as the market braced for potentially long-term fuel supply disruptions at the East Coast's second-biggest refinery following Sandy, the massive storm that devastated the Jersey shore.
Front-month November gasoline futures hit their highest level since Oct. 12 as traders scrambled to cover positions ahead of the contract's expiry later Wednesday, while oil prices saw only modest gains.
The market was focused on tightening East Coast fuel supplies due to concerns the 238,000 barrel-per-day Phillips 66 Linden, New Jersey, refinery could face a long-term shutdown after Sandy cut off power to the plant and flooded some low-lying areas.
Other large refineries in the region were restoring operations, leaving traders to balance the expected drop in demand in the giant Northeast fuel market as travel collapsed due to the storm against already tight regional inventories and supply disruptions.
``I think you see a lot of funds hedging themselves and speculation there could be a lot of damage (from Sandy),'' said Richard Ilczyszyn, chief market strategist and founder of iitrader.com LLC (ex MF Global) in Chicago.
U.S. RBOB gasoline futures traded up 5.54 percent to $2.880 per gallon at 11:15 a.m. EDT (1515 GMT). Brent crude oil rose 42 cents to trade at $109.50 a barrel, while U.S. crude traded up $1.05 to $86.73 a barrel.
(Reporting by Matthew Robinson in New York, Alice Baghdjian in London, Florence Tan in Singapore; editing by Jim Marshall)