Oil prices jump 4.5% on US crude stocks draw

Crude Oil

On the supply side, the US Energy Information Administration reported a 9.5-mln-bbl drawdown in US crude inventory for the week ended Friday, which was also a positive for prices.

Oil companies in the United States have so far evacuated nearly 200 offshore platforms ahead of the storm, including major oil producers Shell, BP, BHP, Exxon, and more, for a loss of roughly a million barrels of oil per day.

Futures in NY rose as much as 0.7% after climbing 4.5% on Wednesday to close above $60 a barrel for the first time since May.

Oil prices were also supported by a fall in the dollar after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell bolstered expectations for USA interest rate cuts.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures dipped 23 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $60.20/Bbl, after hitting their highest price since May 23, at $60.94/Bbl.

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Meanwhile, Iran's alleged attempt to block a British-owned tanker heightened tensions in West Asia in the wake of attacks on tankers and the downing of a United States drone by Iran in June.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries gave its first 2020 forecasts in a monthly report, saying the world would need 29.27 million bpd of crude from its 14 members next year, down 1.34 million bpd from this year. The contract closed at the highest level since May 22 on Wednesday.

Brent crude futures were up 40 cents at US$67.41 a barrel by 0947 GMT. The global benchmark crude traded at a US$6.58 premium to WTI for the same month.

As of Wednesday morning, almost 32 percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and about 17 percent of natural-gas production were shut in as a precaution, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The storm, which could become a hurricane this week, was on a path through the north central Gulf of Mexico. Royal Dutch Shell Plc has also evacuated non-essential personnel at seven platforms and BP also began removing offshore personnel. U.S. crude stocks fell 9.5 million barrels in the week to July 5, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, a drop that was more than triple the 3.1 million-barrel draw expected by analysts. Analysts at IHS Markit had expected a weekly drop of 2.1 million barrels. A day after Iran warned Britain would face "consequences" over the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker, three Iranian vessels tried to block passage of a British ship run by BP through the Strait of Hormuz, the British government said.

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