Por Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Thursday, supported by a sharp decline in U.S. crude inventories and a weaker dollar, although gains were limited by the OPEC + group’s decision to stick with its policy. to gradually increase its production.
* Brent crude futures were 45 cents, or 0.6%, at $ 72.04 a barrel at 1101 GMT; while US WTI crude futures rose 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $ 68.98 a barrel.
* US oil inventories fell 7.2 million barrels last week, the government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.
* On the other hand, Hurricane Ida has affected around 80% of oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. It could take weeks for refineries in the state of Louisiana in the United States to resume all operations.
* “Crude oil processing will likely take considerable time to recover from the blackouts, longer than production itself, which suggests that oil inventories will increase in the coming weeks,” said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank.
* The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies – which include Russia – agreed on Wednesday to continue their policy of gradually exiting the agreement on production cuts, which will add 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the international market.
* The OPEC + bloc also raised its forecasts for crude demand in 2022 and faces pressure from the United States to speed up pumping. The government of US President Joe Biden was “satisfied” that OPEC has reaffirmed its commitment to increase supplies.
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London. Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)