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Hurricanes hit US oil output and demand

US oil output fell from 9.5 million bpd (barrels per day) to 8.8 million bpd as Hurricane Harvey hit the gulf coast last month, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

At the same time, almost a quarter of the US’s massive refining industry was also forced offline, cutting demand for crude oil in the process. In response, Brent crude reached its highest level since April, when it sold for $54.79 a barrel.

The harsh weather conditions have also hit shipping in the Caribbean, with oil imports to the US Gulf Coast dropping to their lowest levels since the 1990s.

Many US refineries are already restarting, and experts expect the industry to have almost completely recovered by the end of the month.

Reuters also report that Saudi Arabia is cutting its allocation of crude to customers by 350,000 bpd in October, which will likely also tighten supply. Traders are quick to warn against reading too much into the current and upcoming data, however, because Harvey’s effects make it impossible to identify the underlying market trend.

Offshore producers in the Gulf of Mexico normally output a significant amount of oil, usually around 1.75 million bpd. ExxonMobil, industrial lubricants from which can be obtained through Mobil UK stockists, is one of the biggest players in the gulf, with it having an interest in over 300 deepwater blocks. Its Julia project, which came online last year, pushed the frontiers of deepwater oil by drilling in waters more than two kilometres deep.

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