According to reports, about 3 million barrels a day, or 16 percent of US refining capacity, remained offline or in preliminary restart mode on Monday evening.
Harvey shut refineries that can process up to 4.4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude.
Marathon Petroleum Corp., the other recipient of the SPR, restarted its Galveston Bay refinery yesterday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumped by nearly 3 percent to $48.64 per barrel by 1320 GMT, their highest levels in two weeks, up $1.35 cents from their last settlement.
Brent, the global benchmark for oil, was down $0.20, or 0.04%, at $52.66 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma is heading for the Caribbean islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and parts of Cuba.
The market was "waiting for the refineries to restart so demand could start to pick up again", Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Seattle, which oversees $142 billion of assets, said by telephone. A much smaller storm and close to land with maximum sustained winds are at 40 miles per hour. Hurricane Irma may strike Florida over the week-end as a category 5 hurricane.
Oil prices witnessed a dip on Wednesday as demand for crude remained subdued on the back of refinery closures due to Hurricane Harvey. The global benchmark last week widened its spread against WTI, as Harvey reduced demand for US oil and was seen as increasing the need for imported oil.
Almost 25% of the total refining capacity of the USA was forced into closure. Colonial is still working to reopen the pipeline from Houston to Herbert, Texas, near the Louisiana line, but says it has been able to move some fuel to the Carolinas from Lake Charles, La.
For another, current refineries are strategically located close to oil pipelines and water transportation and there's little incentive to build a new one because gasoline demand is essentially flat. Another million barrels had already been approved for shipment, the report said. This compares with 4.2 million bpd at the height of the storm. "Today, there's a bit of a worry in the short term that there could be an issue around crude supply".
Damage along the Texas Gulf coast from Hurricane Harvey was spurring gasoline price increases across the country by late this week.
A market survey emailed by commodity pricing group S&P Global Platts forecast a decline in gasoline stocks of 4.2 million barrels and a build in USA crude oil inventories of 2.7 million barrels for last week.
Retail U.S. gasoline prices rose 2.8 percent from Friday to Saturday as refineries warned customers about the fuel-supply shortage.
Also supporting the rise in oil prices were suggestions that Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia would be open to extending their output cut agreement.