OIl prices settled higher for a third day in a row on Wednesday, as demand for crude returned from restarted Gulf Coasts refineries following disruptions to US refining capacity due to Storm Harvey.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for October delivery rose 1% to settle at $49.16 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent added 1.54% to trade at $54.20 a barrel.
Crude oil settled at a four-week peak as concerns over a big drop in crude demand subsided following an uptick in the number of US refineries restarting operations after Harvey knocked out more than quarter of refining capacity last week.
Meanwhile the development of Storm Irma, which made landfall in the Caribbean earlier on Wednesday, continued to garner investor attention, as the Category 5 storm could knock out other refineries and add to concerns over fuel shortages.
Also supporting the rise in oil prices were suggestions that Russia and Saudi Arabia would be open to extending their output cut agreement.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Tuesday that that representatives from both Saudi Arabia and Russia had talked about an extension but that no specific decisions had yet been reached.
The post-Harvey rally in crude prices could come under pressure, as investors brace for US crude inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday as well as a further report from EIA on Thursday.
Analysts forecast crude inventories rose by 4.02m barrels in the week ended Sept. 1.
Short-term disruptions and lower exports from OPEC members offset signs of stronger US oil production to help give crude oil prices a lift early Tuesday.
Crude oil prices have been volatil
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Oil held gains near $50 a barrel before U.S. crude stockpile data as refiners delay scheduled maintenance after Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast and shuttered almost a quarter of the nation’s refi
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