Investing.com - Oil prices tumbled on Friday, hit by concern over reduced demand as U.S. refineries saw a slow recovery from flooding due to Hurricane Harvey.
Prices were further weighed as uncertainty gripped the energy market over the potential impact of Hurricane Irma as it approached the U.S.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures sank $1.61, or around 3.3%, to end at $47.48 a barrel by close of trade. It was the biggest daily loss since July, but prices still ended the week up 19 cents, or 0.4%, to score their first weekly gain in six weeks.
Brent crude, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., slipped 71 cents, or roughly 1.3%, to settle at $52.75 a barrel. The global benchmark closed the week with a gain of $1.03, or around 1.9%, after rising to a more than four-month high of $54.87 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, gasoline futures slumped 1.3 cents, or 0.8%, to end at $1.647 on Friday. It closed around 10.0 cents, or 5.7%, lower for the week.
Heating oil finished down 2.0 cents, or 1.1%, at $1.765 a gallon, but still ending roughly 1.1% higher for the week.
Natural gas futures plunged 9.1 cents, or 3.1%, to settle at $2.890 per million British thermal units. It saw a weekly loss of nearly 6%.
Two weeks after storm system Harvey knocked out roughly a quarter of U.S. oil refining capacity, refineries along the Gulf coast have been slow to restart, weighing on demand for crude oil, the primary input at refineries.
The dip in demand was reflected in a report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday showing crude stockpiles rose for the first time in ten weeks.
Harvey's impact was also felt in oil production. Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday its weekly count of oil rigs operating in the U.S. declined by 3 to 756.
But the slowdown in refining and output should be temporary.
In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Tuesday and Wednesday to further weigh what the impact of recent storm activity was on supply and demand.
Oil traders will also focus on monthly reports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties and the International Energy Agency to assess global oil supply and demand levels. The data will give traders a better picture of whether a global rebalancing is taking place in the oil market.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Tuesday, September 12
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties will publish its monthly assessment of oil markets.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.
Wednesday, September 13
The International Energy Agency will release its monthly report on global oil supply and demand.
Later on, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.
Thursday, September 14
The U.S. government is set to produce a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.
Friday, September 15
Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.
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