US Crude Settles Down Ahead Of API Data

US Crude Settles Down Ahead Of API Data

SINGAPORE, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Oil prices dipped on Wednesday but gasoline spiked to its highest since mid-2015 as flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey knocked out nearly a quarter of us refineries, crimping demand for crude but raising fears of fuel shortages.

The market continues to react to the storm by selling crude. On Tuesday, US gasoline futures jumped four percent.

Refinery shutdowns from the storm helped push United States gasoline prices to $1.7799 per gallon on Monday, the most since 2015, although they receded slightly to $1.7342 per gallon by 0648 GMT on Tuesday.

Goldman also said around 1.4 million bpd of crude production was disrupted, equivalent to 15 percent of total US output.

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International Brent crude futures closed up 0.2 percent to $52.00 a barrel, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude edged down 0.3 percent to $46.44 a barrel, Reuters reported.

Brent for October delivery is down 0.077% and WTI futures for the same month are down 0.151% at $46.50 a barrel. The contract's peak was $1.7888, the highest for NYMEX gasoline since July 2015.

The Energy Information Administration reported a bigger-than-expected weekly drop in US crude supplies, but gasoline stockpiles were flat and traders expect next week's government report to reveal the impact of Hurricane Harvey-related crude production and refinery shutdowns. That meant at least 3.65 million barrels per day (bpd) of refining capacity was offline, or 19.6 percent of total USA capacity, based on company reports and Reuters estimates.

Preparing for more rain and floods, Total cut production to 53% of capacity at its 225,500 bpd Port Arthur refinery, reported a leading research agency. While infrastructure restarts following the storm are expected to extend into the coming weeks, on Wednesday Marathon Petroleum Corp was restarting its Galveston Bay Refinery, said sources familiar with plant operations. Jefferies bank said it was lowering its fourth-quarter Brent oil price estimates to $55 a barrel from $60 and its 2018 forecast to $57 from $64.

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