The price of U.S. crude traded $1.09 lower on Sunday, at $63.10 a barrel, while London Brent Crude ended the day at $61.51 a barrel. Asian trading remained below $64 early this morning. Crude oil had already dropped more than $2 on Friday as Rita's forecast path missed most major refineries.


FEMA acting director David Paulison described damage to Houston-area refineries as "minimal." The major challenge now will be getting the facilities back on line as quickly as possible, a task complicated by damage to the power grid in the areas affected by Rita and Katrina.

Refineries in the Port Arthur area east of Houston did not fare as well, with serious damage to refineries operated by Valero Energy (pictured), Shell and Total.

The impact on U.S. gasoline prices should be moderate, with previous high prices in the wake of Hurricane Katrina continuing to depress consumer demand in many areas.



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