"Around 2-3 million bpd of refining capacity is offline or in the process of shutting down".
USA crude oil futures extended their slide on Tuesday while gasoline prices jumped another 3% to 2-year highs as more refineries in Texas closed in the aftermath of a weekend hurricane, amplifying concerns that crude stockpiles will balloon in the near term while fuel supplies run short.
The EIA cited a string of sharp drawdowns in crude stocks over the past eight weeks that helped OPEC's aims of bolstering crude prices, though analysts said much of that could be at stake now with the growth in supply of unrefined oil from hurricane-related outages. That meant at least 3.65 million barrels per day (bpd) of refining capacity was offline, or 19.6 percent of total US capacity, based on company reports and Reuters estimates.
"Rising US production, domestic refinery blending constraints, and the end of (the) driving season combined to depress WTI", ING bank said.
The national USA gasoline price on Monday stands at $2.38 per gallon, up more than 5 cents from a week ago. Prices earlier climbed to the most since July 31, 2015, at $1.842.
Prices would be higher if not for record refinery runs in 2017, said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at Clipperdata. "We're setting up and gearing up for the next couple years", FEMA's Brock Long said today.
Some refineries were preparing for restarts, but heavy rains were expected to last through Wednesday, adding to catastrophic flooding.
Harvey rolled into Texas on Friday as a Category Four hurricane, tearing down homes and businesses on the Gulf Coast, and triggering massive floods.
More than 18 percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut in, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety Environmental Enforcement said.
Over the last ten weeks, according to the API, crude oil inventories in the United States have shed more than 46 million barrels.
Crude markets were also eyeing disruptions in Libya and Colombia.
Yet crude remains in ample supply, resulting in low prices, with Jefferies bank saying it is lowering its fourth-quarter Brent oil price estimates to $55 a barrel from $60 and its 2018 forecast to $57 from $64.