Gas Inches Up, Oil Down; Oil Production and Refinery Shutdowns in the Gulf

Aug 27, 2012 6:18pm

GAS PRICE

The average price of a gallon of regular gas is $3.78, up 3 cents from a week ago, according to the Department of Energy.  This price is also up 15 cents from a year ago.

ISAAC’S OIL and GAS PRODUCTION IMPACT SO FAR…

Seventy eight percent of the oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been halted in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac.  The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reports that about 1 million barrels per day of oil production has been stopped as 346 offshore oil and gas production platforms have been evacuated.  That’s 17 percent of daily U.S. oil production and 6 percent of consumption.

Also according to the Department of Energy, six refineries in the path of the storm reported that they are shut down or were in the process of shutting down.  The shutdowns so far represent 1,316,500 barrels a day worth of petroleum production — this accounts for about 8 percent of total U.S. refinery capacity (as in how much gas and diesel refineries can produce).

CRUDE OIL PRICES DOWN

In a somewhat odd development, oil prices ended the day lower.  Oil closed at $95.47 down 68 cents for the day.

Some analysts think this drop is in anticipation of a Strategic Petroleum Oil Reserve release, if there is a major supply disruption after Isaac.

A possible bottleneck in refining capacity could also be causing the drop in oil prices.  Demand for oil goes down if fewer refineries are available to turn oil into gasoline.

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