Oil prices slip as demand subdued post-Harvey; category 5 storm approaches

Source:Reuters-Global Times Published: 2017/9/6 18:48:39

Oil prices slipped on Wednesday as crude demand remained subdued due to the refinery closures that followed after Hurricane Harvey hit the US Gulf Coast 10 days ago.

Although many refineries, pipelines and ports that were knocked out by Harvey are now restarting, analysts said it will take weeks before the US petroleum industry is back to capacity.

As of Tuesday, about 3.8 million barrels of daily refining capacity, or about 20 percent, was shut, though a number of the refineries were in the process of restarting. Several others were running at reduced rates, according to company reports and Reuters' estimates.

Focus was also being drawn to massive Category 5 storm Hurricane Irma, which is barreling toward the Caribbean and Florida and could knock out other refineries.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures Clc1 were at $48.58 per barrel at 13:28, about 0.20 percent below their last settlement.

Fuel storage data is due for release on Thursday by the Energy Information Administration, which is expected to give a better view of how big Harvey's impact was on US fuel inventories, although analysts said it will take a few weeks longer to get a complete picture.

In international oil markets, Brent crude futures LCOc1 dipped 19 cents, or 0.40 percent, to $53.19 a barrel.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma churns toward Caribbean islands and the US.

"With another hurricane threatening to hit the US coast, traders still remain cautious," ANZ bank said on Wednesday.

Around 250,000 barrels of daily refining capacity in the Dominican Republic and Cuba lies in the immediate path of Irma, Thomson Reuters Eikon data showed.


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