Pump prices are ris­ing for U.S. mo­torists af­ter the storm took down a huge chunk of U.S. re­fin­ing ca­pac­ity.

The Day - - FRONT PAGE - By DAVID KOENIG AP Busi­ness Writer

Dal­las — Hur­ri­cane Har­vey is send­ing pump prices higher for U.S. mo­torists and caus­ing tem­po­rary shifts in the flow of oil and gaso­line around the world af­ter tak­ing down a huge chunk of U.S. re­fin­ing ca­pac­ity.

It will be days or even weeks be­fore the en­ergy sec­tor in the south­east Texas Gulf Coast is back to nor­mal op­er­a­tions as it deals with flood­ing in the af­ter­math of Har­vey, which has been down­graded to a trop­i­cal storm. The re­gion from Cor­pus Christi, Texas, where Har­vey made land­fall, to the Louisiana state line ac­counts for about 3 per­cent of the U.S. econ­omy and is a cru­cial ex­port market for oil and chem­i­cals.

Wed­nes­day brought news that the na­tion’s big­gest re­fin­ery, which was al­ready run­ning be­low half-speed, had be­gun a com­plete shut­down. The Mo­tiva En­ter­prises plant in Port Arthur, Texas, run by a unit of the state-owned oil com­pany of Saudi Ara­bia, was the lat­est domino to fall among Gulf Coast re­finer­ies.

More than one-fifth of U.S. re­fin­ing ca­pac­ity has been shut­tered, ac­cord­ing to S&P Global Platts.

With that, gaso­line fu­tures headed higher for a third straight day. They had climbed 10 cents to $1.88 a gal­lon Wed­nes­day.

Re­tail gas prices climbed, too, up 2 cents a gal­lon on Wed­nes­day and 7 cents in the past week, to a na­tional av­er­age price of $2.42 per gal­lon, ac­cord­ing to Gasbuddy.

“In terms of prod­uct price in­creases, it might get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter,” said Rob Smith, an en­ergy an­a­lyst with IHS Markit.

It could take two weeks or longer be­fore big re­finer­ies in the Houston area can re­cover from a record-set­ting del­uge and re­sume nor­mal op­er­a­tions. That as­sumes they didn’t suf­fer se­ri­ous dam­age, which is still un­known.

Har­vey isn’t the first big storm to hit the re­fin­ery-rich Gulf Coast, but the oil in­dus­try has un­der­gone big changes since the last ma­jor in­ter­rup­tion from Hur­ri­cane Ike in 2008.

The so-called shale revo­lu­tion has led to a surge in oil pro­duc­tion in the U.S., in­creas­ing the na­tion’s ex­ports of crude oil and gaso­line to Mex­ico and other places in Latin Amer­ica, and diesel to Europe.

When the U.S. can’t pro­duce enough gaso­line or diesel to meet ex­port de­mands, other re­gions are forced to look for re­place­ment sup­plies “and the back­fill has to come from fur­ther away,” said Richard Joswick, an an­a­lyst with S&P Global Platts. “It has to come from Asia even.”

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