U.S. oil prices rose on Sept. 5 and gasoline fell as the gradual restart of refineries in the Gulf of Mexico that were shut by Hurricane Harvey raised demand for crude and eased fears of a fuel supply crunch.
Gasoline futures dropped 4% from their last close to $1.68 per gallon, down from $2.17 on Aug. 31 and back to levels last seen before Harvey hit the U.S. Gulf Coast and its large refining industry.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose more than 1% to $47.84 per barrel (bbl) by 5:08 a.m. CST (10:08 GMT), up 55 cents from their last settlement.
"Gasoline fell as refineries in Texas began to reopen," said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities.
Texas was edging towards recovery from the devastation of Harvey as shipping channels, oil pipelines and refineries restarted some operations.
Eight U.S. oil refineries with 2.1 million bbl/d of refining capacity, or 11.4% of the U.S. total, were shut as of the afternoon on Sept. 4, the Department of Energy said.
Harvey hit the Texan coast late on Aug. 25 and at its peak knocked out almost a quarter of all U.S. refining capacity.
In international markets, Brent crude futures edged higher by 0.3% to $52.49/bbl amid signals OPEC could extend its output limits beyond the first quarter of 2018.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have discussed extending an oil output cut agreed among OPEC and non-OPEC producers but no specific decisions have been made yet, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying on Sept. 5.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said unofficial talks were under way to extend the cuts, adding that global crude inventories remained at high levels.