Oil-markets on Friday saw Brent crude supported by Saudi Arabia hoping to cut October supplies, while United States crude was curbed by refinery-outages due to Hurricane-Harvey damages, which dented demand.
Focus was shifting to three other hurricanes that are currently tearing through the Caribbean and Gulf of
Brent crude futures rose to 54.57 dollars a barrel at 0735 GMT, with the benchmark for international oil prices earlier marking its highest since April at 54.79 dollars a barrel.
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 Media on Thursday.
United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI)
crude futures were at 48.98 dollars a barrel ,
11 cents below their last settlement.
Traders said that the dip was a result of low refining activity following Hurricane Harvey, which
hit the U.S. Gulf coast two weeks ago.
It knocked out almost a quarter of the country’s huge refinery industry, cutting demand for crude oil
“Most refineries are restarting and we expect a near-full recovery by month-end,” U.S. investment bank
Harvey’s impact was also felt in oil production.
U.S. oil output fell by almost 8 percent, from 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 8.8 million bpd, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Port and refinery closures along the Gulf coast and harsh sea conditions in the Caribbean have also impacted shipping.
“Imports (of oil) to the U.S. Gulf Coast fell to levels not seen since the 1990s,” ANZ bank said.
Traders said it would take weeks for the U.S. petroleum industry to return to full capacity, and that
under the current conditions it was difficult to identify fundamental market trends.
As the oil industry continues to grapple with the fallout from Harvey, a much bigger Hurricane
was lashing the Caribbean islands and heading for the United States.
Hurricane Irma, which has become one of the biggest storms ever measured, on Friday hit
the Dominican Republic and Haiti, heading for Cuba and the Bahamas.
It was predicted to hit Florida by Saturday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Irma was still a Category 5 hurricane, with wind
speeds of 160-185 miles per hour
On Irma’s heels, Hurricane Jose is heading for the Caribbean Leeward islands, which have just been
devastated by Irma, with wind speeds of 120 mph (195 km/h).
With storm Katia about to hit the Mexican Gulf coast, there are three major hurricanes currently active in