U.S. oil futures move higher as refinery activity resumes
NEW YORK, September 4, 2017 – U.S. oil futures moved higher on Monday, as refinery activity slowly resumed on the Gulf Coast, although investors were still trying to assess the long term damage of Hurricane Harvey on the U.S. petroleum industry.
The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude October contract was at $47.58 a barrel by 09:00 a.m. ET (13:00 GMT), up 29 cents or around 0.61%.
Elsewhere, Brent oil for October delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London slid 20 cents or 0.38% to $52.55 a barrel.
Gasoline futures for October tumbled 4.23% to $1.669 a gallon, after rallying to a two-year high of $2.139 last Thursday on fears of supply shortages.
Two key fuel pipelines were set to start up on Monday after certain segments in Texas were shut because of storm system Harvey, helping alleviate concerns about rising retail prices and the domestic distribution of gasoline and distillates.
Affected oil output is down significantly from the peak of around 25%, or 428,568 bpd, on August 26 as evacuated workers returned and activity resumed.
Still, many analysts say it could take months before the U.S. petroleum industry fully recovers from Harvey.
About 5.5% of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico’s oil production, or 96,000 barrels of daily output, remained shut on Sunday after Harvey made landfall in Texas more than a week ago.
Natural gas futures for October delivery declined 0.91% to $3.04 per million British thermal units.