FACT-U.S. Gulf Coast energy infrastructure shutters, driving prices up.
Tropical Depression Harvey continues its onslaught in parts of MS and Lousiana today, but Texans are faced with a new problem in the storm’s wake: an increased demand for gasoline while many Houston refineries remain offline.
The national average for a regular gallon of gasoline rose to $2.519 as of Friday morning, the highest since August 2015.
Gasoline for October delivery fell to $1.7476 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:04 p.m.in London.
Hampton Roads, though, got a little luckier: The average price here is $2.16 – eight cents more than last month.
As gas prices spike across Texas and fuel runs short at some gas stations, officials say there’s no shortage of fuel in the state because of Harvey.
Some of the first refineries to close were in Corpus Christi, near where Harvey initially made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Friday.
It could take two weeks or longer before big refineries in the Houston area can recover from a record-setting deluge and resume normal operations.
As the life-and-death circumstances of Tropical Storm Harvey occupied the minds of countless Texans, the pocketbook consequences of the massive storm were already having an effect on Americans who drive. In the Houston/Galveston area, flooding, not rain, is now the concern.
However, the data was collected before Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast.
Even after the storm passes and refineries restart, roads damaged by flood waters and obstructed by trees and debris, could impede delivery for some time.
The Gulf accounts for almost half of total United States refining capacity. That includes Phillips 66’s Lake Charles at 239,400 and Citgo Lake Charles at 427,800.
Part of the nation’s strategic oil reserves network; this location is in Freeport, TX. Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Galveston Bay refinery, for instance, is said to be shutting because pipeline disruptions have cut off its crude oil supply.
According to a release from the Dept. of Energy, Sec.
The reduced capacity means significantly smaller amounts of oil can be turned into gasoline and other products like jet fuel.
Colonial facilities east of Hebert, Texas, are capable of receiving and moving product as supplies become available, the company reported, and personnel have been deployed to the region to assist in bringing the system back to full capacity as soon as conditions on the ground are deemed safe.
A source with knowledge of Mexican imports told the data aggregator that the country has been looking to purchase gasoline “everywhere” and that it still needs more imports to satisfy its supply needs. “Overall stocks in the Gulf are above average levels and will be available to drivers once power is restored and area roads are cleared”.