Oil Steady as Irma Heads for Florida, Saudi Arabia Cuts Supply

Oil prices steadied on Friday after almost a week of sharp rises as Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms in a century, drove towards Florida after tearing through the Caribbean.

Irma is the second major hurricane to approach the United States in two weeks and has already killed 14, flattening whole islands. Its predecessor, Harvey, shut a quarter of U.S. refineries and 8 percent of U.S. oil production.

“Hurricanes can have a lasting effect on refinery and industry demand,” said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “The impact of the forces of nature on U.S. oil production should not be overestimated – nor should their impact on demand be underestimated.”

Brent crude LCOc1 was up 16 cents at $54.65 a barrel by 1145 GMT, after earlier reaching its highest level since April at $54.80. U.S. light crude oil CLc1 was 14 cents lower at $48.95 barrel.

Brent found some support from news that Saudi Arabia will cut oil supply allocations to its customers worldwide in October by 350,000 barrels per day (bpd).

U.S. crude prices fell as a result of low refining activity following Harvey, which sharply reduced demand for oil to process, traders said.

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). C-OUT-T-EIA

But the slowdown in refining and output should be temporary.

“Most refineries are restarting and we expect a near-full recovery by month-end,” U.S. investment bank Jefferies said.

read more/source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-oil/oil-steady-as-irma-heads-for-florida-saudi-arabia-cuts-supply-idUSKCN1BJ06S

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