A number of key Texas refineries worked to reopen or resume normal operations on Saturday, a week after Hurricane Harvey knocked out nearly one quarter of the US refining capacity and sent gasoline prices to two-year highs, according to Reuters.
While much of the region’s refining infrastructure still remained offline from Harvey, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane last week and drenched Texas as a tropical storm, the restarts were a first step in alleviating concerns about US fuel supplies.
Exxon Mobil Corp said it was restarting its 560,500 barrel per day (bpd) facility in Baytown, Texas, the second-biggest US oil refinery, after it was inundated by flooding.
Phillips 66 said it was working to resume operations at its 247,000 bpd Sweeny refinery as well as its Beaumont terminal.
The announcements come after Valero Energy Corp said late on Friday it was ramping up production at its Corpus Christi, Texas-area refineries, as well as evaluating its 335,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas, refinery for damage from Harvey. The refinery was shut on Wednesday.
Retail gasoline prices have risen more than 17.5 cents since Aug. 23, before Harvey hit, amid worries the storm would trigger supply shortages.
Pump prices were at $2.59 a gallon on Saturday, according to motorists advocacy group AAA, up three per cent from Friday and 16.7 per cent higher on average than a year ago.
In another positive sign for the industry, Occidental Petroleum Corp said it had loaded and shipped the first crude cargo from its Ingleside terminal in Corpus Christi after Hurricane Harvey first made landfall.
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