Brent Rises as US Production Returns Slowly
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Brent crude oil gained 28 cents or 0.49 per cent on Wednesday at the international market to sell for $72.81 per barrel as the United States Gulf of Mexico producers made slow progress in restoring output more than a week after Hurricane Ida hit the largest oil-producing country in the world.
Also, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, which is the US crude benchmark, appreciated yesterday by 25 cents or 0.22 per cent to settle at $69.45 a barrel.
After nine days, producers have been able to only restart less than 25 per cent of US Gulf production in the region while about 77 per cent remained offline or about 1.4 million barrels per day.
Producers are still struggling to restart operations after Hurricane Ida swept through the region with powerful winds and drenching rain, leaving a loss of about 17.5 million barrels of oil to the market so far.
The Gulf’s offshore wells make up about 17 per cent of US output.
Oil was also supported by reports in recent hours that protests at various key Libyan oil terminals have disrupted loadings on tankers or the entire oil export operations.
According to reports, oil engineers at the oil ports of Es Sider and Hariga said protesters blocked exports at those ports. Three tankers are waiting to load at Es Sider and one at Hariga.
The market also looked at China data which showed the country imported 44.5 million tons of crude oil in August, an 8 per cent rise from July and the first time above the 10-million-barrel-a-day threshold in five months.
The rise came as China set a somewhat more generous import quota.
Traders will be closely watching inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) industry group and the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday for a clearer picture of the storm’s impact on crude production and refinery output.
Analysts expect on average that crude stocks fell by 3.8 million barrels in the week to September 3.