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RBOB rally extends amid Colonial Pipeline outage on Hurricane Ida

Highlights

Colonial Pipeline evaluating system for restart

Widespread power outages impacting refinery restarts

Crude falls back to even as Ida weakens

  • Author
  • Chris van Moessner
  • Editor
  • Manish Parashar
  • Commodity
  • Oil
  • Tags
  • United States

NYMEX RBOB futures moved higher Aug. 30 as the closure of the Colonial Pipeline ahead of Hurricane Ida threatened to stress already tight gasoline supply.

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At 1449 GMT, NYMEX September RBOB was up 3.14 cents at $2.3056/gal while September ULSD was 1.05 cents higher at $2.1197/gal.

Colonial Pipeline started the damage assessment process early Aug. 30 after Hurricane Ida swept through Louisiana and will then set a timeline for restarting the country's primary fuel artery for much of the Southeast and the East Coast.

Colonial Pipeline said Aug. 29 that it had temporarily shut down its Lines 1 and 2 systems from Houston to Greensboro, North Carolina. Colonial's Lines 3 and 4 from North Carolina to New Jersey never ceased operations. The pipeline is a key artery supplying the US South and East Coast with refined products, and its closure threatens to stress already tight regional gasoline stocks, which stood nearly 13% behind the five-year average in the week ended Aug. 20.

The ICE New York Harbor RBOB crack versus Brent climbed to $16.92/b midmorning, up from an Aug. 27 close of $16.32/b.

Widespread power outages across the region were impacting the restart of refinery operations, further stressing refined product outlooks.

Crude futures were trading around even as a weakened Hurricane Ida moved inland.

NYMEX October WTI was up 5 cents at $68.79/b and ICE October Brent was 14 cents higher at $72.84/b.

Latest forecasts from the US National Hurricane Center showed Ida had moved well inland and weakened to a tropical storm. The system had made landfall as a powerful Category 4 hurricane Aug. 29 near Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Aug. 29 that 95.65% of the US Gulf's crude oil, or 1.741 million b/d, already was shut in, as well as 93.75% of the region's about 2.2 Bcf/d of natural gas production, or about 2.091 Bcf/d. An estimated 288 offshore platforms were evacuated -- 51.4% of the US Gulf's total.