Pump prices were at $2.59 a gallon on Saturday, according to motorists advocacy group AAA, up 3 percent from Friday and 16.7 percent higher on average than a year ago.
By 11:15 a.m. ET, the new front-month contract in NYMEX gasoline, October, was down $0.0492, or 2.8%, at $1.7300 per gallon.
But as the United States in recent years has become a crude oil and petroleum product export market, ramping from some hundred thousand barrels of crude exports per month in late 2013 to more than 1 million barrels of crude exports this past May, it is becoming clear to industry watchers that Harvey will have global implications that extend far beyond Houston.
Marathon Petroleum Corp's Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, had raised production to 45 percent of its 459,000 barrel per day capacity, sources told Reuters on Friday. They were trading 1.4 percent up at $46.58 a barrel at 1352 GMT.
"Hurricane Harvey has significantly impacted the entire Texas gulf coast with the petroleum refining centers of Corpus Christi, Houston, Port Arthur, Beaumont, and Lake Charles, La., either completely shutdown or [having] significantly scaled back operations", according to a statement released by the Port of Corpus Christi.
Lower supply, increased demand prompts gas price jump
McTeague said how much the price actually jumped up works out to be closer to nine cents, but the message is the same. This is amid reports of shortages due to extensive flooding in Texas and other states along the U.S.
Higher gasoline prices could affect consumer spending nationally, but the impact "should be small and temporary as production and refining come back on line", according to Ryan Sweet of Moody's Analytics. It was still on track to close the month down just under 6 percent, the steepest monthly loss since March. The global benchmark traded at a premium of $4.78 to November WTI.
"The market has turned in reverse pretty sharply", said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy.
"At this point, we're really waiting to see what the cumulative effect will be" from Harvey, said Paul Hesse of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
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"Best case: the refinery should be up and operating again for the most part by the middle of September".
For the week, Brent was up 0.65 percent while USA crude posted a weekly decline of 1.25 percent.
"Refineries outside the affected area may delay maintenance to benefit from high processing margins", said Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank. "But by the end of September, I expect the situation to be nearly back to normal", said Frank Schallenberger, head of commodity research at LBBW.
Tessa Sandstrom, spokeswoman for the North Dakota Petroleum Council, also said no impact is apparent as far as markets, although some companies report more difficulty in getting fix parts for oil-field equipment.
Crude oil prices have moved lower for much of the week in response to the tropical storm.
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