Energy prices are rising Friday ahead of Hurricane Harvey, predicted to be the most severe storm to hit the U.S. in 12 years. Harvey is currently a category 2 storm, but could strengthen into a category 3 hurricane before it makes landfall in Texas within the next 24 hours.
Several oil refineries in the Lone Star State are temporarily shuttering their doors ahead of Hurricane Harvey. According to sources cited by Reuters, refinery Citgo Petroleum is closing its doors in Corpus Christi, while another refinery in the area, Flint Hills, has also been winding down operations, according to local news outlet KrisTV.com
Those closures, affecting a major U.S. oil refining hotspot, are pushing up the prices of energy products like gasoline and heating oil as investors anticipate a drop in supply. Gasoline October futures were up 4 cents on Friday to $1.58 per gallon, their highest point in four months. Heating Oil October Futures jumped up by 2 cents to $1.65 from $1.63.
Hurricane Harvey has thrown crude oil for a loop, too. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures rose about 35 cents to $47.78 per barrel Friday, while Brent Crude futures rose about 38 cents to $52.42 a barrel. Both price rises helped recoup some of their losses from Thursday, when investors worried that the storm would force refineries to temporarily stop processing crude oil, leading to excess supply.