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Harvey Brings In First Drop In U.S. Industrial Output Since January

After six consecutive monthly gains, U.S. industrial production fell by 0.9 percent in August as Hurricane Harvey hit Gulf Coast refining, chemicals, and plastics materials production, the Federal Reserve said on Friday.

“Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf Coast of Texas in late August, is estimated to have reduced the rate of change in total output by roughly 3/4 percentage point,” the Fed said, noting that “The manufacturing industries with the largest estimated storm-related effects were petroleum refining, organic chemicals, and plastics materials and resins.”

Mining production went down by 0.8 percent in August, after Hurricane Harvey temporarily curtailed drilling, servicing, and extraction activity for oil and natural gas, the Fed added.

When Harvey made landfall in Texas, 24.49 percent of the current oil production of 1,750,000 bpd in the Gulf of Mexico had been shut-in, which equates to 428,568 bpd, and 25.94 percent of the natural gas production had been shut-in.

A number of refineries also shut down, and at the peak of the shutdowns, more than 20 percent of U.S. refining capacity was offline.

As of 2:00 PM EST on Thursday, September 14, three refineries in the Gulf Coast region were still shut down, according to the DOE’s latest event summary. These refineries have a combined refining capacity of 372,000 bpd, equal to 3.8 percent of total Gulf Coast refining capacity and 2.0 percent of total U.S. refining capacity. Five refineries were in the process of restarting after being shut down. Those refineries have a combined capacity 1,431,699 bpd, equal to 7.7 percent of total U.S. refining capacity. In addition, at least six refineries in the Gulf Coast region were operating at reduced rates, the DOE said.

After the worst of the Harvey had passed, refinery capacity continued to recover, but Hurricane Irma is expected to reduce demand.     

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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