By CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos
Petroleum marketers are beginning to count loses as impact of tropical storm Harvey which wrecked havoc along the U.S Gulf Coast over the weekend begins to affect petroleum products prices.
Marketers have expressed great fears that scarcity is looming if the Hurricane persists as pressure will mount on Asia to augment products refining shortfalls from the U.S.
An oil marketer Mr. Frank Okade told the LEADERSHIP yesterday that following the impact of the catastrophe pump price of diesel has gone up. “ last week diesel at the depot sold for N151 per liter but today (Monday) depots are selling for N162 per liter” he said.
Okade expressed deep concern that if the situation is not contained the country may not only experience scarcity but prices of products will stretch further.
Reports say that oil markets were roiled on Monday after Tropical Storm Harvey wreaked havoc along the U.S. Gulf Coast over the weekend, crippling Houston and its port, and knocking out several refineries as well as some crude production.
U.S. gasoline prices hit two-year highs as massive floods caused by the storm forced refineries in the area to close. In turn, U.S. crude futures fell as the refinery shutdowns could reduce demand for American crude.
Meanwhile brent futures steadied as pipeline blockades in Libya slashed the OPEC state’s output by nearly 400,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Harvey is reportedly the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, killing at least two people, causing large-scale flooding, and forcing the closure of Houston port as well as several refineries.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Harvey was moving away from the coast but was expected to linger close to the shore through Tuesday and that floods would spread from Texas eastward to Louisiana.
Texas is home to 5.6 million bpd of refining capacity, and Louisiana has 3.3 million bpd. Over 2 million bpd of refining capacity was estimated to be offline as a result of the storm.
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