Oil gains as hurricane shuts U.S. output, stockpiles fall By

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© . FILE PHOTO: Dust blows around a crude oil pump jack and flare burning excess gas at a drill pad in the Permian Basin in Loving County

TOKYO () – Oil prices rose on Wednesday, extending gains from the previous session, as a hurricane disrupted U.S. offshore oil and gas production and an industry report showed a big drop in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Brent crude () was trading up 15 cents, or 0.4%, at $40.68 a barrel by 0055 GMT, while U.S. crude () gained 18 cents, or 0.5%, to $38.46 a barrel. Both contracts rose by more than 2% on Tuesday.

More than 25% of U.S. offshore oil and gas output was shut and export ports were closed on Tuesday as Hurricane Sally sat just off the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“Our current estimate for the total outage associated with the Sally weather system is between 3 million and 6 million barrels of oil over approximately 11 days,” Rystad Energy said in a note.

That is likely to help reduce stockpiles although refineries were also shut down, cutting demand for oil.

U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 9.5 million barrels last week, although gasoline inventories increased, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday. [API/S]

Analysts had expected oil stocks to increase by 1.3 million barrels. Official data on U.S. stockpiles is due out later on Wednesday and often conflicts with the industry figures. [EIA/S]

Meanwhile, oil producers and traders are painting a bleak picture for a recovery in fuel demand globally as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, hammering economies.

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