Oil steadies as U.S. refineries avoid worst of storm Laura
Oil prices dropped on Friday as a massive hurricane hit key U.S. oil production in Louisiana and Texas without causing widespread damage to the facilities.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 0.1%, or 3 cents, at $43.01 per barrel. WTI is on course for a 1.6% climb this week, on its fourth straight week of gains.
Brent crude futures for October delivery, which is due to expire on Friday, gained 2 cents to $45.11 per barrel. The November contract rose 3 cents to $45.63 per barrel.
Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana early Thursday with winds of 150 miles per hour (240 km per hour). The storm cut power to over 650,000 people in Louisiana and Texas, but oil refineries were left undamaged. However, public buildings and private properties were destroyed.
U.S. producers had closed down 1.56 million bpd of crude output in the Gulf of Mexico, which accounted for 83% of the region’s production. Nine refineries shut nearly 2.9 million bpd of capacity or 15% of total U.S. processing capacity before Laura hit the Louisiana coast.