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02 September 2017, 01:24 | Gordon Grant
The largest crude oil refinery in the country, Motiva's 603,000 barrel per day facility in Port Arthur, Texas, started shutting early Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, the Colonial Pipeline, a 5,500-mile system of pipelines that connects 29 refineries and 267 distribution terminals from Houston to New York Harbor (via Linden, N.J.), reported Tuesday that it continues to operate at a reduced capacity due to limited supply from Houston-area origins. The agency is operating more than 230 shelters in Texas, housing more than 30,000 people. Gasoline futures have jumped to the highest in more than two years, and the fuel's premium to crude oil has risen to a 16-month high.
Evidence is also emerging of the supply disruption hitting retail prices for gasoline stateside.
Heavy rainfall over the Greater Houston area in Texas has seen 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in USA refining output shuttered since Friday (25 August), and Harvey's second landfall resulted in the phased closure of the Port Arthur refinery.
Port Arthur found itself increasingly isolated as floodwaters swamped most major roads out of the city and spilled into a storm shelter with about 100 people inside.
Moody's Analytics estimated the economic cost from Harvey for southeastern Texas at US$51 billion to US$75 billion (RM217.8 billion to RM320.2 billion), ranking it among the costliest storms in USA history.
US Vice President Mike Pence visited Texas on Thursday, touring the coastal city of Rockport, where Harvey slammed ashore onto the mainland late Friday. Around 2.2 million barrels per day of refining capacity has been disrupted. More than $35 million has been provided, FEMA officials announced.
Cost of Cleaning up Harvey Will Test Federal Government Bush, who many lawmakers from both parties criticized for responding too slowly to a storm that killed more than 1,800 people. Christie also said that New Jersey will send aid to the region and that he has been in contact with Texas Gov.
While flooding is the primary problem for refineries in Harvey's aftermath, it's not the only one. At the same time, some refiners including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Marathon Petroleum Corp. are preparing to restart plants.
Some plants - like Velero's refineries in Corpus Christi and Three Rivers - are beginning to resume operations.
The two refineries join more than a dozen others with a combined ability to produce more than 4 million barrels a day, or about 23 percent of USA capacity, that are at least partially offline.
"The largest impact to energy markets is severe flooding, which has resulted in the closure or part-closure of almost 25% of the United States' refinery capacity", the analysts wrote in a note to clients.
While conditions in Houston appeared to improve, the disaster took a turn for the worse near the Texas-Louisiana state line.
Officials closed the highway I-10 from Houston to New Orleans because the floodwaters were so high. The more-active October contract rose 3.56 cents to $1.6375 a gallon. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, was down 1.1%, at $45.94 a barrel, at 10:44 a.m. ET.
Information for this article was contributed by Brian K. Sullivan, Dan Murtaugh and Aaron Clark of Bloomberg News.
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