Crude futures up on hurricane concerns
Crude oil prices were up on Friday as worries heightened that Hurricane Emily might venture into areas of the Gulf of Mexico where oil production facilities are located and interrupt supplies.
West Texas Intermediate for August delivery gained 55 cents to $58.35 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude September contracts on the International Petroleum Exchange were up 54 cents to $57.50.
Prices rode a roller coaster this week. Prices were down on Monday in the wake of Hurricane Dennis and the assumption that supplies would not be substantially affected because the storm had presumably missed production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.
Then on Tuesday, prices rose again as Hurricane Emily gathered strength in the Caribbean. Prices rose early on Wednesday when it was announced that Hurricane Dennis had damaged an oil platform belonging to BP, but then dropped after the weekly inventories report in the US showed that distillate inventories were up twice as much as expected for the week.
Prices continued to drop on Thursday as concerns over short supplies in the fourth quarter diminished on Wednesday’s distillates inventories report, as well as on reports that Hurricane Emily would miss Gulf oil production facilities altogether. Then on Friday, prices rose once again.