October WTI Crude Oil closed at $47.48, up $0.19 or +0.40% and December Brent Crude Oil settled at $53.58, up $0.79 or +1.50%. "The data scrambles the recent trend of declining crude inventories and further rises are likely in the weeks ahead", said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital LLC in NY.
Even as the oil industry continues to grapple with the fallout from Harvey, a much bigger Hurricane was lashing the Caribbean islands and heading for the United States.
Brent ended the week up 1.9 percent while US crude was up 0.4 percent, paring most of its earlier weekly gains on worries on the continued impact of hurricanes on demand and supply.
Traders said that the dip was a result of low refining activity following Hurricane Harvey, which hit the US Gulf coast two weeks ago and knocked out nearly a quarter of the country's huge refinery industry, cutting demand for crude oil, refining's lifeblood. Its predecessor, Harvey, closed a quarter of US refineries and 8% of USA oil production. November Brent crude, the global benchmark, lost 44 cents, or 0.8%, to $54.05 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, with prices up around 2.5% for the week.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. weekly crude stocks increased 4.6 million barrels the week-ending September 1, topping analysts' forecast for a 4.0-million-barrel build in a Reuters poll.
He noted the big drop in refinery utilization "almost assures" crude stockpiles will continue to rise in coming weeks.
As of Wednesday, about 3.8 million barrels of daily refining capacity, or 20 percent of the US total, was shut in, though a number of refineries and petroleum-handling ports were restarting.
Investors and analysts were waiting to see Hurricane Irma's impact on (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hurricane-irma-downgraded-to-category-4-but-remains-extremely-dangerous-on-its-path-to-florida-2017-09-08) oil demand and potential disruptions to energy transportation in the Gulf Coast in the coming days.
US refiner Valero's five refineries located on the Texas Gulf Coast are in the process of ramping back up, Chief Executive officer Joe Gorder said on Thursday.
USA crude settled down $1.61, or 3.3 percent, at $47.48 a barrel.
OPEC and its partners chose to extend its production cuts till March 2018 in Vienna on May 25, as the oil cartel and its allies step up their attempt to end a three-year supply glut that has savaged crude prices and the global energy industry. Yet another hurricane, Katia, is developing in the Gulf of Mexico. On Irma's heels, Hurricane Jose is heading for the Caribbean Leeward islands, which have just been devastated by Irma, with wind speeds of 120 miles per hour.