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The global benchmark Brent crude climbed 2% to $51.87 a barrel.

A gallon or 3.8 litres of petrol rose 13.5 per cent in NY on Thursday to close at US$2.1399, leaving it up almost 30 per cent since Friday, the day Harvey made landfall in Texas.

Gasoline for September delivery settled up 25.52 cents, or 13.5%, at $2.1399 on the last day of trading in the contract.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for October slid 0.71% to $1.761 a gallon.

The hurricane has shuttered 22 percent of the nation's refining capacity as Gulf refineries halt operations due to damage and flooding.

Damage to energy supplies from Hurricane Harvey combined with the traditional increase in Labor Day travel is already leading to higher gas prices in MA, and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is tapping into the nation's strategic reserves as part of the federal government's response to the massive storm.

US crude oil stocks fell sharply last week as refineries raised output with the approach of Harvey, the Energy Information Administration said.

According to analysts at Citi, in 2005, when hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, America's gross exports of crude and petroleum products (including NGLs) were running at some 1.165m barrels a day. It now is at 679 million barrels. On Thursday, Colonial Pipeline shut down a crucial artery in the nation's fuel supply network that provides more than 3 million barrels of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel daily to major cities from Houston to NY.

In a letter to Trump on Wednesday, Markey said USA gasoline futures prices had surged by 8 percent since Harvey's landfall, rising to a level last reached in July 2015. They got a refill at about 10 a.m. and were drained again by 2 p.m.

Gasoline prices have increased by at least 10 cents a gallon since Harvey came ashore and caused record flooding, shutting down oil refineries along the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

The shutdowns led the USA government to tap its strategic oil reserves for the first time in five years on Thursday, releasing 500,000 barrels of crude to a working refinery in Louisiana.

The torrential rains from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey finally relented after inundating parts of Texas and Louisiana.

"When refineries are not able to run on the US coast, WTI light sweet crude is accumulating in Cushing, pushing down the price there", said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Markets. The data showed a 5.39 million barrel drop in commercial crude stocks last week. South Korean refiner S-Oil Corp. has risen about 6 percent, the biggest weekly increase since March, and SK Innovation Co. advanced 4.4 percent.

If you're traveling over the Labor Day weekend, you might want to stop and fill up your gas tank before prices rise any higher.

"In all this area, no one has it but us", Sadruddin said.

By then, analysts say some of the Gulf refineries should be back online and ports opened up, helping provide certainty to an industry where so much can be rattled by a force of nature. Prices closed at the highest level in one week.

Analysts said that the heavy WTI discount with Brent was a result of shut in USA crude supplies due to pipeline and refinery closures.

The one saving grace in the calamity is the steady production of domestic crude oil that's been in place for years and was not interrupted by Harvey, Ingham said. "Crude prices are going to go down because they can't deliver and they can't refine them".


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