Thousands of people have been driven from their homes in the Houston area due to massive flooding caused by tropical storm Harvey.
Some areas could get as much as 127-centimetres of rain — more than 50-inches — before Harvey moves on.
Meantime, key oil and gas facilities along the Texas Gulf Coast have temporarily shut down, and flooding in the Houston and Beaumont areas could seriously pinch gasoline supplies.
Dan McTeague is a senior petroleum analyst with Gas Buddy Dot Com. He says the entire North America region could feel the effects later in the week when buying fuel.
“My sense is that there is about 20-percent of all U.S. gasoline production that’s now been knocked off line,” McTeague said in an interview Monday with 620 CKRM News. “I’m also waiting, of course, for the all-important Colonial Pipeline which has a terminal which starts in Houston, to declare – as it did in 2008 – that it can no longer pump gasoline.”
McTeague says that closure will likely be felt on the prairies later in the week in terms of the price of gasoline.
“It looks like the only real answer is a shortage of gasoline,” McTeague said. “It will spill over – if you will – into western Canada. Starting, of course, in eastern Canada, then potentially hitting us here in the mid-west and of course, in the prairies.”
McTeague says not only were several oil fields and platforms evacuated Thursday, at least four refineries began the process of closing down operations leaving the plants without the ability to pump out water away from critical infrastructure.
“Long-term flooding will have an impact on the pumps here in Saskatchewan,” McTeague said. “Here in Regina, in Saskatoon. Everywhere across North America frankly. But that hasn’t really shown up. yet. There’s probably not an appreciate of how devastating this hurricane has been.”
Oil markets were roiled Monday morning after several refineries as well as some crude production were knocked out.