rices rose for the fifth straight week with the global energy crunch set to boost demand for crude as stockpiles decline from the US to China. Futures in New York gained 2.8% last week. The global benchmark Brent settled at the highest in nearly three years for the second day in a row on Friday. Global onshore crude supplies sank by almost 21 million barrels last week, led by China, while US inventories are near a three-year low.
Brent futures dipped on Friday but held above $75 a barrel, remaining on track for weekly gains of more than 3% thanks to the slow recovery in output after two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Brent crude futures fell 27 cents, or 0.36%, to $75.40 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures closed at $72.22 after settling unchanged in the previous session. Hurricane Ida is now officially the most devastating hurricane ever in terms of oil production disruption, and experts expect the outages to last throughout September.
Futures rose towards $73 a barrel on Friday as refineries in Louisiana restarted and returning offshore production could not keep pace. About two-thirds of the US Gulf’s offshore oil production or about 1.2 million b/d has remained offline since late August. As a result, US crude inventories fell to the lowest since September 2019. The storm that hit the US Gulf of Mexico so far has removed more than 21 million barrels of crude from the market. Over 1.68 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas were also off-line on Friday, while a total of 65 platforms and three rigs continued to be evacuated.
Damages to oil production facilities in the US Gulf of Mexico kept output largely halted a week after Hurricane Ida made landfall, according to offshore regulator the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Energy companies have been coping with damaged platforms and onshore power outages and logistical issues, slowing efforts to restart production. Some 88% of crude oil output and 83% of natural gas production remained suspended. About 1.6 million barrels of crude oil remained offline, with only about 100,000 barrels added since Saturday. Another 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas output also was shut in.