Gasoline Falls to 1-Week Low as Some U.S. Refiners Plan Restarts

  • Texas processing plants seek to resume operations after floods
  • U.S. government releases crude to three Gulf Coast refiners

Tom Petrie Sees No Permanent Damage to Pipeline Structure

Gasoline declined to the lowest in more than a week as some U.S. Gulf Coast refineries said they plan to resume operations following shutdowns forced by flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Futures for October delivery lost 3.3 percent in New York after their biggest monthly gain since March of last year. While about one-fifth of U.S. refining capacity was halted, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, some plants including those operated by Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. are returning. The U.S. Energy Department also approved the release of 5.3 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Front-month gasoline prices advanced more than 25 percent in August as Harvey slashed processing capacity across Texas, forcing shutdowns of key refineries from Corpus Christi and Houston to Port Arthur, including the largest U.S. fuel-making plant. Oil in New York declined almost 6 percent last month.

“The disruptions from Hurricane Harvey in the U.S. Gulf Coast are gradually clearing,” wrote analysts at JBC Energy GmbH. “In the broader scheme of things, it appears that so far the energy industry was spared major damages to assets and infrastructure.”

October gasoline futures lost as much as 9 cents to $1.6579 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange and were $1.6906 at the 1 p.m. halt of trading. Monday’s trades will be settled along with Tuesday’s.

See also: Harvey Triggers Gasoline-Price Surge Just in Time for Labor Day.

West Texas Intermediate for October delivery gained 8 cents to $47.37 a barrel, while Brent for November settlement slipped 41 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $52.34 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $4.32 to November WTI.

Oil-market news:

  • Russia is likely to back a further extension of the OPEC agreement cutting oil output, judging that it has helped to stabilize the market, the country’s deputy prime minister said.
  • Money managers have cut their bullish Nymex WTI crude bets by the most since 2007, while bets on rising Nymex gasoline prices increased to the most bullish in more than six months in the week ended Aug. 29, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. 
  • On Brent, hedge funds trimmed their net-long position to the least bullish in three weeks, according to ICE data.
  • The U.S. oil-rig count was unchanged at 759 rigs, according to Baker Hughes data released Friday.

— With assistance by Heesu Lee

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