With the passage of Hurricane Harvey over southern and coastal Texas last week, the oil refineries in the Houston area have shut down and are not expected to resume normal operations and return to full output for some weeks to come. The oil industry in Texas refines about 25% of all crude oil in the USA.
The resulting shortages in refined petroleum products have caused a sharp spike in pump prices across the USA and also in other countries that purchase refined fuel product from the Houston suppliers.
This has also affected Belize, as Belize does import a substantial quantity of refined fuel from Houston suppliers on a regular basis in addition to purchasing refined fuel from Venezuela under the Petrocaribe Accord. With this source of supply temporarily closed, Belize is having to purchase and truck in overland fuel from El Salvador at higher costs than would otherwise be the case.
Such costs are being reflected in the local pump prices which are expected to increase in the days ahead. The extent of the increase is not known at this time.
The Government of Belize is working closely with the key supplier, PUMA, to ensure that such increases are kept to a bare minimum and remain for the shortest possible time.