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01 Setiembre 2017, 01:32 | Dolorita Barahona
This is How Hurricane Harvey Is Driving the Price of Gas
USA weather services downgraded Harvey to a tropical storm on Saturday. but torrential rains have continued to drown the area and are expected to continue for most of the week.
Average retail gasoline prices have risen to $2.449 per gallon nationwide, up 4.5 cents a gallon from a day earlier and 10.1 cents from a week ago, AAA data showed.
"As a result of the flooding, a large amount of refining capacity is offline meaning that gasoline production is severely curtailed", said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities. The disruption sent motor fuel as much as 6.6 percent higher in NY, while the resulting reduction in demand from plants hit by the storm kept crude near a five-week low. And restarts are unsafe periods, as fires and explosions can occur.
"There's definitely a psychological impact", said Joe McMonigle, a former Energy Department official who now serves as senior energy analyst at the Hedgeye Potomac Research Group.
The EIA's next weekly dataset is due on Wednesday, with the agency reporting for the week ended August 25, just before the storm that hit Texas. The Ship Channel is the busiest in America and remains closed by the storm.
"This is not going to have an apocalyptic impact on what we pay at the pump", he said. Besides slowing seasonal demand, refineries also are scheduled to begin selling less-expensive winter-blend fuels beginning next month.
The release of 1 million barrels is small compared with USA demand of almost 20 million barrels per day. Royal Dutch Shell Plc also halted operations at its 325,700-bpd Deer Park, Texas, refinery. Refineries in Lake Charles, Lousiana, could shut or reduce rates as Harvey moves east. Not every plant in the region was hit. Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the region's largest refiner, said it had sold all its available regular gasoline barrels because of increased demand, while Monroe Energy's refinery had increased runs.
Exxon, meanwhile, also temporarily shuttered a massive plant in Baytown, Texas, with a capacity of more than 560,000 barrels per day, according to reports from CNBC. All of those refineries have been impacted by Harvey since Thursday when refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas, shut in production ahead of the storm's landfall on Friday.
He said that the United States imports about 700,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil from Venezuela and exports about 75,000 barrels a day of refined petroleum products.
At the same time, USA condensate shipments from the Gulf Coast have been curtailed by the closure of lines belonging to Explorer Pipeline, reducing supplies of the material that oil-sands producers use to dilute their bitumen so it can flow through pipelines. Citgo is keeping a close eye on operations, a spokeswoman said Monday night.
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