Crude oil futures prices settled modestly higher Friday as the market fixated on the potential track of Hurricane Sandy as it heads up the East Coast. Prices of heating oil and gasoline futures, battered in recent days by weak demand, firmed on the uncertainty. Gasoline demand could spike on pre-storm sales, but lower in coming weeks, if drivers can’t use blocked or damaged roads. In the event of no serious storm damage to infrastructure, refineries, port facilities, and pipelines could see normal operations within days of the storm’s passing.
As quoted in The Wall Street Journal:
The worst-case scenario has become closer to becoming a potential reality,” said Matt Smith, analyst at Summit Energy. “It depends on what we see with power outages–all it would take would one of these big refineries to go down” for gasoline prices to stay high.