What Impact Will Hurricane Harvey Have On Gasoline And Crude Pricing?

 Issue 108 – Harvey Rainfall In Texas Beyond Anything Experienced

Introduction…Hopes for an immediate relief from Hurricane Harvey’s wrath in Houston and along Gulf Coast seem unlikely. The National Weather Service calls the flooding “unprecedented” and warns things may become more dire if a record-breaking 50 inches of rain falls on parts of Texas in coming days.  How will Harvey disrupt gasoline and crude supplies and pricing?

Impact on Texas refining capacity…So far 10 refiners close as Harvey brings havoc to the hub of Texas energy.  Here is the short list of the top refineries closed:

By late afternoon Sunday, refineries run by Exxon, Citgo, Petobras, Flint Hills, Magellan, Buckeye, Shell, Phillips 66, and two plants run by Valero Energy were closed according to S&P Global Platts and the companies.  Total refining shut down estimated to be 2.2 million barrels per day or one-third of the nation’s capacity to refine oil into gasoline, diesel and other products.

Also 22% of the oil and 26% of the natural gas produced in the gulf was closed.

Bull and Bear response to Harvey...”It’s a gasoline story more than a crude oil story at the moment,” Ed Morse, Citi’s global head of commodities research, told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Friday.

Gulf Coast gasoline for spot delivery was at $1.73 per gallon, up 23 cents from Tuesday, according to Oil Price Information Service. Nymex gasoline was up about 5 cents over the same period.

“If we get rapid accumulation in 24 hours the refineries simply can’t pump the water fast enough out of the location,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” That could lead to damage to electric pumps in refineries, potentially requiring repairs that could take weeks or months, he added.

As the consensus estimate begins forming around a weeks-long outage, the picture for crude demand just becomes worse and worse, said John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital due to deduction in demand by the refineries.

In summary…The full impact of Harvey on gasoline and crude inventories and pricing will be determined in the next three or four days until the storm damage to the refineries is fully determined.

More than 6.5 million people live in the region impacted by Harvey and several deaths have been reported.  The flooding impact is “unprecedented.”  Our thoughts and prayers go out to those suffering.