US crude rises on returning refineries; gasoline slumps to pre-Harvey levels

Reuters SINGAPORE | Updated on January 10, 2018 Published on September 05, 2017


US oil prices rose on Tuesday as the gradual restart of refineries in the Gulf of Mexico that were shut by Hurricane Harvey raised demand for crude, their main feedstock.

The return of many US refineries also ended a spike in gasoline prices, as initial fears of a serious supply crunch faded.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $47.55 barrel at 0656 GMT, up 26 cents, or 0.55 per cent, from their last settlement.

Gasoline futures, by contrast, fell 4 per cent from their last close, to $1.68 per gallon, down from $2.17 a gallon on August 31 and back to the levels last seen before Hurricane Harvey hit the US Gulf coast and its large refining industry.

“Gasoline fell as refineries in Texas began to reopen,” said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities.

Texas had on Monday edged towards recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey as shipping channels, oil pipelines and refineries restarted some operations.

The Department of Energy said that eight US oil refineries with a total of 2.1 million bpd, or 11.4 per cent of the total US refining capacity, were still shut as of Monday afternoon.

Harvey hit the Texan coast late on August 25 and at its peak knocked out almost a quarter of the entire US refining capacity.

In international markets, Brent crude futures dipped 3 cents to $52.31 a barrel as traders were cautious on oil - seen as a riskier asset - and instead preferred gold, an investor safe-haven, following North Korea's most powerful nuclear test to date.

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Published on September 05, 2017
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