Hurricanes dent oil output as Saudi Arabia cuts supplies
10 September, 2017, 12:23 | Author: Barbara Daniel
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1, meanwhile, lost 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, to settle at $49.09 per barrel.
Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the United States, were up 24 cents at $54.73 a barrel, just shy of their Friday peak of $54.79 a barrel, their highest level since April.
ANZ bank said on Thursday that USA crude prices should receive some support "as US refineries increase their oil demand as they recover from recent flooding".
Additionally, in response to the impact of Harvey which hit the Gulf Coast of Texas on August 25, the EIA said USA oil refinery utilization rates slumped 16.9 percentage points to 79.7 percent last week, the lowest rate since 2010.
The API reported a build of 2.791 million barrels in US crude inventories.
While refineries, pipelines and offshore platforms resume operations after Harvey, another Atlantic hurricane, known as Irma, is approaching the USA coast and is set to hit Florida tomorrow.
Saudi Arabia will cut crude oil allocations to its customers worldwide in October by 350,000 barrels per day (bpd), an industry source familiar with Saudi oil policy told Reuters on Thursday.
But as the refinery sector gradually recovers, so is its crude processing.
Oil prices fell on Friday as Hurricane Irma drove towards USA state of Florida.
Gasoline refineries were interrupted along the Texas coast, denting demand for crude oil. Yet another hurricane, Katia, is developing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Gulf Coast imports dropped by 41% last week to 1.48 million barrels a day, the lowest volume since at least January 1990, according to a report from the Energy Information Administration on Thursday.
"Hurricane Irma is already impacting the natural-gas market with demand out of the southeast region dropping roughly 1.5 [billion cubic feet a day] over the past 24 hours", said Robbie Fraser, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric.
Analysts said that it can take weeks for normalisation of USA petroleum industry, which may again be affected as Irma is anticipated to hit Florida.
Hurricane Irma, which has become one of the biggest storms ever measured - picking up the Twitter hashtag #irmageddon - early on Friday was over the Dominican Republic and Haiti, heading for Cuba and the Bahamas. Current models show Irma making landfall in Florida by Sunday morning and soaking parts of the area with about a foot of rain.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Irma is a category five hurricane, with maximum sustained winds estimated to be almost 295km/h.
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