«

»

Crude Oil Futures Fall on Friday as Hurricane Irma Nears Atlantic Coast

Domestic crude oil prices fell on Friday as U.S. refineries saw a slow recovery from flooding due to Hurricane Harvey, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.

October West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.61, or 3.3%, to settle at $47.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, WTI rose 0.4% to score the first weekly gain in six weeks.

November Brent crude, the global benchmark, lost 71 cents, or 1.3%, to end trading at $53.78 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange. Prices were up nearly 2% for the week.

“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,” said Jenna Delaney, senior oil analyst at PIRA Energy, an analytics unit of S&P Global Platts.

The U.S. lost more than 20% of its refining capacity in the days following Hurricane Harvey, though many refineries have since started to come back online.

Investors and analysts are waiting to see the impact of Hurricane Irma on oil demand and potential disruptions to energy transportation in the coming days.

Next week, the monthly report will be released by OPEC and the International Energy Agency. Analysts will be observing whether the IEA adjusts its demand estimates.

Back on the New York Mercantile Exchange, October natural gas ended down 9.1 cents, or 3.1%, to settle at $2.89 per million British thermal units. Natural gas futures were down nearly 5.9% for the week.

“Hurricane Irma is already impacting the natural gas market with demand out of the southeast region dropping roughly 1.5 [billion cubic feet a day] over the past 24 hours,” said Robbie Fraser, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric.