Oil prices soften as market assesses hurricane damage

An anti-fossil fuel senator from MA urged President Donald Trump Wednesday to open USA oil reserves to limit the affects Tropical Storm Harvey is having on gas prices.

A view of the nation's largest oil refinery that is waterlogged in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

Motiva Enterprises was cutting production at the nation's largest refinery due to flooding, sources said.

Analysts are watching another storm brewing on the horizon in the Atlantic Ocean that may further disrupt US exports that stood at between 5 million to 6 million barrels a day of crude and petroleum products before the storm.

With that, gasoline futures headed higher for a third straight day.

With gasoline futures climbing, the AAA said retail gasoline prices were up 6 cents from a week ago at $2.404 per gallon of regular gasoline nationwide.

"I think you're going to see widespread increases of prices, albeit, I don't think our prices will increase as much as the Gulf Coast area and surrounding areas", Watson said.

Colonial said its Lines 1 and 2 are operating east of Lake Charles and it will be able to bypass any shuttered terminals near Port Arthur, Texas, when it resumes shipments Sunday from the Houston area. That assumes they didn't suffer serious damage, which is still unknown.

Hurricane Harvey cut USA refining capacity to the lowest level since 2008 after its initial strike on the Texas coast late last week.

The Texas attorney general's office said anyone seeing gas prices of $4 or higher should take pictures and report the stations as price-gouging.

Most of the best refineries won't be back to being fully operational for another two weeks, he said, but he added there are also other tropical storms brewing in the Gulf that could cause further delays. "It has to come from Asia even".

The Energy Department will review other requests for oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an emergency stockpile that guards against supply disruptions, a spokeswoman said. It was up about seven cents from $2.449 the previous day.

Gasoline prices fell for the first time in nearly two weeks, after rising 25 percent last month, as traders assessed the impact of Tropical Storm Harvey.

The eventual impact to gas prices is likely to be limited by the US shale oil boom.

Outages in the USA will lead to "windfall profits" for European refiners as gaps demand gaps are filled, JBC said. "It could be a week if not longer before Corpus Christi is at normal operations". True, a number of petroleum product markets have been tightening for months (see Oil: Keep calm and carry on) and America is the world's largest petroleum product exporter.

  • Zachary Reyes