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Hurricane Harvey's impact on the USA oil industry

06 Septembre 2017

But the US Gulf Coast moved closer to recovery from Hurricane Harvey on Monday when the biggest American fuel system restarts a key segment shut down by devastating rains and officials weigh how to pay for billions of dollars in damage.

US oil prices rose on Tuesday and gasoline fell as the gradual restart of refineries in the Gulf of Mexico that were shut by Hurricane Harvey raised demand for crude and eased fears of a fuel supply crunch.

On Tuesday, sources said Motiva Enterprises could begin restarting the 603,000 barrel per day (bpd) Port Arthur refinery, the nation's largest, this week.

The total lost oil production in the Gulf of Mexico since offshore platforms started shutting on August 23 is about 2.97 million barrels.

Crude oil infrastructure was also still recovering from the storm.

Brent crude futures dipped 3 cents to $52.31 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 26 cents to touch $47.55 a barrel, reported Reuters.

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Harvey, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane and was downgraded to a tropical depression, knocked out more than 20% of USA refining capacity, stoking fears of a nationwide fuel shortage and causing crude supplies to build up in storage. As of Sept. 3, Colonial was targeting Sept. 4 for restarting its 1.056 million bpd main distillate line between Houston and Hebert and Sept. 5 for its main 1.272 million bpd gasoline pipeline.

Alberto Hernandez, a watch supervisor at the U.S. Coast Guard, said on Monday there were ships exiting and entering the Houston Ship Channel, which links the busiest petrochemical port to the Gulf of Mexico, on Monday.

And while the US government tapped its strategic oil reserves for the first time in five years last week, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the global energy watchdog still sees no need for a coordinated international release of oil stocks after Harvey. Prices for refined products like gasoline have jumped. Pyongyang said it had tested an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile, prompting the threat of a massive military response from the United States if it or its allies were threatened.

In worldwide markets, Brent crude futures LCOc1 edged higher by 0.3 percent to $52.49 a barrel amid signals the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could extend its output limits beyond the first quarter of 2018.

Overall trading activity in the oil futures market was expected to be low on Monday due to the U.S. Labor Day public holiday. Brent, the global benchmark, was up 0.55 percent to reach $53.30.

Hurricane Harvey's impact on the USA oil industry