Enero 22, 2018

Gasoline jumps 4%, oil mixed as storm hits more refineries

01 Setiembre 2017, 05:48 | Dolorita Barahona

Drillers evacuate Gulf platforms, shut in wells in wake of Harvey

Oil companies have evacuated personnel from about 15 percent of the manned oil-production platforms and half of the working drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of Hurricane Harvey federal officials said Saturday

To that point, gasoline prices swelled to their highest level in over two years, topping $2.00 per gallon.

But if you look at just gasoline, that 1 million barrels of oil would produce about half a million barrels of gasoline, according to James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics.

At the same time, however, with refinery operations at a standstill, there is lower demand for crude oil. Total SA's refinery in Port Arthur is out with a power loss, a person familiar with that plant said. For example, the massive refineries on the Gulf Coast send gasoline through a major artery to the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Further, the integrated company may soon have to abandon operations at its Beaumont refinery in Texas as well for the same reason.

The Houston Ship Channel remained closed on Monday and numerous refineries were out of action as were offshore oil and gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Harvey continued to wreak havoc in Texas.

U.S. gasoline futures were up 6.4% at $1.8966 a gallon, having hit $1.9022, the highest since July 2015.

Almost 30% of the nation's refining capacity along the Gulf Coast has been shut or reduced operations due to flood waters associated with the storm. About 22 percent, or 378,600 barrels a day of Gulf of Mexico oil production is offline, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. It remained on track to close August down nearly 6 per cent, the steepest monthly loss since March.

As of Tuesday afternoon, average fuel prices across Omaha had moved up by about 5 cents over the previous day's average. The region includes the St. James trading hub, with more than 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of refining capacity. Other integrated energy companies such as Petrobras and Chevron also shut down their refineries at Pasadena and Baytown respectively.

This comes as numerous refineries along the gulf coast were shut down or damaged, leading to speculation of a gas price hike due to a production shortage.

Meanwhile, Magellan Midstream Partners suspended its inbound and outbound refined products and crude pipeline transportation services in the Houston area. Some refineries are coming back online, but many have a long way to go.

The Colonial Pipeline, a crucial artery in the nation's fuel supply network, runs from the Houston area to NY harbor and includes more than 5,500 miles of pipeline, most of it underground.

Traders from Europe to Asia were scrambling to fix fuel cargoes to the United States, with price reporting agency Argus registering a record monthly trade volume of European gasoline barges.

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