Oil markets move little with industry in grip of Caribbean hurricanes

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October WTI crude oil settled at $49.16, up +0.50 or +1.03% and December Brent crude oil closed at $54.07, up $0.71 or +1.33%.

The group raise its combined futures and options position in NY and London by 20,525 contracts to 186,421 during the period.

The National Hurricane Center has raised the odds that the Category 5 storm will hit the US, fueling fears about yet more disruption to USA oil production.

Brent crude futures dropped 19 cents to $53.19 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading 8 cents lower at $48.58, reported Reuters.

"Oil and gas infrastructure in the U.S. Gulf Coast region continues to come back online post hurricane Harvey, with 1.0 million [barrels a day] of refining capacity still fully shut down, and 2.7 million b/d of capacity in the process of restarting", Jenna Delaney, senior oil analyst at PIRA Energy, an analytics unit of S&P Global Platts, said in an email update late Thursday. US oil output fell by nearly 8 percent, from 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 8.8 million bpd, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Brent crude LCOc1 increased 16 cents at $54.65 a barrel by 1145 GMT, after earlier hitting its highest level since April at $54.80.

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United States oil output fell by nearly 8 per cent, from 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 8.8 million bpd, according to the Energy Information Administration. "The impact of the forces of nature on USA oil production should not be overestimated - nor should their impact on demand be underestimated".

US crude settled down $1.61, or 3.3 percent, at $47.48 a barrel.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Irma is a category five hurricane, with maximum sustained winds estimated to be almost 295km/h.

Irma barreled into Caribbean islands overnight with wind speeds up to 185 miles per hour (295 kph) and was heading for Florida.

Focus was shifting to three other hurricanes that are now tearing through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. Gulf Coast utilization rates dropped to 63.4 percent, the lowest rates since the EIA began collecting the data in 2010.

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