Oil prices increase as Texas refineries start returning to normal

Coast Guard aircrews conduct flyovers to assess the ports of Houston, Texas City, Freeport and Galveston, on August 31, 2017. These port assessments are conducted in order to identify any damaged Coast Guard regulated port facility, potential oil spills or chemical release and any navigational obstruction along the ports. Photo by PO1 Patrick Kelley/U.S. Coast Guard/UPI

Sept. 5 (UPI) — Instability caused by Hurricane Harvey’s aftereffects pushed oil prices higher on Tuesday, though market reports suggest capacity is slowly beginning to come back online.

As much as 16 percent of total U.S. refining capacity was impacted by the storm, pipelines from the region operated intermittently and the federal government released oil from its strategic reserves in order to offset the market strains. The Department of Energy said it will issue regular situation reports on the recovery and restoration of the Texas oil industry.

Refineries are quickly returning to production and only about 11 percent of all U.S. refining capacity remained closed on Monday, Commerzbank said in a report. It indicates that demand for crude oil at refineries will likely increase, while a shortage of gasoline, and the recent rise in prices at the pump, is likely to ease, Marketwatch reported Tuesday.

Crude oil futures for October delivery were up 1.3 percent, to $48.59 per barrel just after the markets opened, while West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was up 1.1 percent to $47.83 a barrel. Brent, the global benchmark, was up 0.55 percent to reach $53.30.

Gasoline for October delivery fell seven cents, or 4 percent, to $1.68 a gallon, after rallying last week. There was no settlement for oil and gasoline on Monday because of the Labor Day holiday.

Inflation among the 35-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development rose 2 percent in July, largely driven by a 3.7 percent increase in energy prices, an OECD statement said Tuesday.


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