For the time being, the market impact of the catastrophic Hurricane Harvey that tore through parts of Texas several days ago has been limited to the US, where the natural disaster has prompted fuel shortages and gasoline price hikes.
Greek fuel prices have so far remained steady, averaging 1.488 euros per liter around the country on Sunday, despite the US disaster. However, local officials estimate that a slight fuel price hike can be expected to soon hit the Greek market.
A terminal in the coastal Texan city of Corpus Christi supplying significant shale oil and shale gas exports has been shut down as a result of the damages. According to current estimates, the Corpus Christi port facility is expected to be reopened next week, at best, possibly on Monday.
Besides this terminal, other major US refineries have also been forced to stop operating and it remains to be seen whether they will be able to resume production at full capacity in the short term.
Gasoline prices in the US have already increased to 1.7799 dollars per gallon, the highest level registered since 2015. WTI prices have also risen by 23 cents, a 0.5 percent increase.
Brent Oil prices have also hit an upward trajectory, rising by over 20 cents, or 0.4 percent, to 52.09 dollars a barrel.
Analysts noted that Hurricane Harvey managed to succeed where OPEC did not, when the cartel announced a cutback of its output with the aim of lifting prices to boost flagging oil revenues of member states.
The global impact of Hurricane Harvey remains opaque.
China imported approximately 130,000 barrels of crude from the US during the first seven-month period this year. The US ranks as the 15th biggest supplier of crude to the Chinese market.
In recent months, US oil exports reached levels of one million barrels per day. Roughly two-thirds of this amount hails from the coastal area affected by Hurricane Harvey.
The US also imports crude, whch makes determining the overall intermational effect of the disaster even more difficult to assess.
Besides Hurricane Harvey, the international market, especially the Mediterranean region, is currently also being impacted by reduced output at Libya’s biggest refinery, Zawiya, operating at half its full capacity as a result of a pipeline problem. Libya has temporarily halted exports from this facility.