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Oil Gains as Irma Impact Less Than Feared, Gulf in Repair Mode

13 September 2017

WTI crude declined by roughly 3% on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-oil-prices-slide-in-harveys-wake-but-brent-rises-2017-09-08), further widening the spread with Brent to over $6.

Futures were little changed in NY, up 3.7% for the week.

According to Reuters, as of yesterday, about 3.8 million bpd in refining capacity remained shut down, representing a fifth of the United States total.

A Reuters poll of six analysts taken ahead of inventory reports forecast that crude stocks likely rose by 2.3 million barrels in the week ended September 8.

Oil advanced as the market shrugged off Hurricane Irma's effect on demand, with the Texas Gulf Coast repairing itself after Harvey.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Saudi Arabia is the largest member, and other producers including Russian Federation first agreed late a year ago to cap their production at around 1.8 million barrels a day lower than October 2016 levels.

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In a note Monday, however, analysts at Goldman Sachs said the negative impact on oil demand from Irma will be smaller than Harvey, which made landfall on the Texas coast on August 25.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude October contract was at $47.62 a barrel by 09:00 a.m. ET (13:00 GMT), up 18 cents or about 0.38%.

Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, told CNBC that while Irma is not a direct threat to oil production or refining facilities, it is still cause for concern: "the biggest issue we face is the storage terminal and distribution system in Florida, which consumes about 500,000 barrels per day of gasoline and receives about 90 percent of it by vessel".

Elsewhere, for November delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London dropped 30 cents or 0.56% to $53.48 a barrel. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $5.10 to November WTI. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Thursday that U.S. crude stocks increased 4.6 million barrels last week, higher than market expectation of a 4.0-million barrel build.

Prices fell due to the uncertainty from Hurricane Irma.

"We believe that Irma will have a negative impact on oil demand but not on oil production or processing", Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note.

Oil Gains as Irma Impact Less Than Feared, Gulf in Repair Mode