Oil Rises on Week, Demand Challenges Return as Laura Spares Refineries

Commodities & Futures
© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Barani Krishnan

Investing.com – Oil prices settled mixed on the day but rose on the week after Hurricane Laura largely spared the U.S. energy industry from disaster — turning the focus again toward sketchy fuel demand in a coronavirus-moderated economy.

New York-traded , the benchmark for U.S. crude futures, settled down 7 cents, or 0.2%, at $ 42.97 per barrel. For the week, WTI gained 1.5%.

London-traded , the bellwether for global crude prices, closed the New York session up 21 cents, or 0.5%, at $ 45.81. Brent rose 1% on the week.

According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, just about 40% of manned platforms in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico remained shuttered and without anyone on board on Friday, compared to the previous day when outage from Laura left 46.2% of the platforms idle.

Laura made landfall between East Texas and West Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane in the pre-dawn hours on Thursday before turning into a tropical storm. 

Aside from loss of at least six lives and countless property, the storm also scored a near-direct hit on Lake Charles in Louisiana where Citgo’s 769,000 barrels-per-day refinery is located. The refiner said all its employees were safe and damage was being assessed, indicating the situation was under control.

“Hurricane Laura spared key energy infrastructure from major damage, muting its impact on global energy markets,” TD Securities said in a note. 

“In this context, market participants will return their focus towards the recovery in global energy demand, which continues to show signs of stalling. This comes amid virus flare-ups in Europe and Asia which threaten to derail the recovery in demand growth.”

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