Harvey Forces Major Texas Refineries to Shut Down, Raising Concerns About Gas Price Hikes

Flooding caused by Tropical Storm Harvey has forced some of the largest refineries in the country to shut down, putting more than a tenth of the nation's refining capacity out of commission temporarily and raising concerns about gas price spikes."In terms of prices, it's obviously going to be a lot worse than what we were telling people on Friday," said, Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, referring to the slight price increase on Friday before the Category 4 hurricane made landfall on Texas coast. On Sunday, major Houston area oil and gas refineries owned by Exxon Mobil -- nation's second-largest refining facility -- Shell, Phillips 66 and Petrobras closed due to flooding. Parts of Houston are expected to get as much as 50 inches of rain as now Harvey hovers along the coast.DeHaan expects gas prices go up by 15 to 25 cent, along the coast. It could be higher if more refineries close in response to flooding at gasoline storage facilities or service stations. Outside the region, DeHaan expects gasoline prices to go up by 5 to 15 cents. There's a "huge danger that the numbers could change in a moment's notice," he said.James L. Williams of WTRG Economics said these major shutdowns are "enough to move markets.""We don't know what damage there is in Corpus [Christi]. We don't know how far under water they are in Houston," Williams said.  Continue reading...

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