Oil futures ended modestly lower Friday, but tallied a weekly gain a day after Hurricane Laura made landfall on the Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm but refineries were spared from extensive damage. Now the industry waits to see how traders respond on Monday.
West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery fell 7 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $42.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Based on the front-month contracts, prices saw a weekly climb of 1.5%, which represents their fourth weekly rise in a row according to Dow Jones Market Data reported MarketWatch.
October Brent crude, the global benchmark, lost 4 cents, or 0.09%, at $45.05 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, ahead of the contract’s expiration at Monday’s settlement. For the week, front-month contract prices climbed by 1.6%.
“No reports of major damage to refineries or massive flooding should allow the industry to bounce back quickly,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at The Price Futures Group, in a Friday note. “While refineries may stay shut for weeks, they will use this opportunity to do maintenance, and after some seasonal weakness in prices, petroleum should resume its longer-term upward trend.”
Hurricane Laura was responsible for at least six deaths and caused extensive damage as it came ashore and moved inland Thursday. However, production from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and activity at refiners in the Gulf Coast, the heart of the U.S. oil-processing industry, was expected to rebound quickly.