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Weather Playing a Role in WTI and Brent Crude Settlements on Wednesday

The domestic oil benchmark closed at a four-week high on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, October West Texas Intermediate crude rose 50 cents, or 1%, to settle at $49.16 a barrel, marking the highest settlement since August 9.

On the London ICE Futures Exchange, October Brent crude, the global benchmark, gained 82 cents, or 1.5%, to end trading at $54.20 a barrel, its highest close since April 18.

The market is preparing for potential disruptions to oil production in the Gulf of Mexico as the result of Hurricane Irma, now a Category 5 storm that lashed several islands in the Caribbean on Wednesday. Hurricane Jose is further out on the heels of Hurricane Irma. If crude output is hindered by the new storms, it would boost prices.

The refinery shutdowns associated with Harvey are expected to have contributed to a build in crude oil stocks and a fall in gasoline inventories when the Energy Information Administration provides its weekly update on Thursday morning.

Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts produced a consensus forecast for a 2.7 million-barrel rise in crude stocks. Gasoline inventories are expected to fall by 4.2 million barrels.

In addition, inventories at the storage hub in Cushing could see significant increases in the next few weeks due to Harvey, according to Geoffrey Craig, oil futures editor at S&P Global Platts.

The American Petroleum Institute will also provide its weekly inventory figures late Wednesday.

Meanwhile, October natural gas rose 0.9% to end at $3 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.