The international petroleum industry is currently enduring the aftermath of hurricane Harvey to the heart of the U.S. oil industry, but the price crude still managed to edge higher on Friday.
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Gulf coast was battered by the tropical storm and it knocked off more than a quarter of refineries in the stateside. As a result, the demand of crude oil sharply fell. There is about 20 percent of U.S. refining capacity or 3.8 million barrel closed as of Thursday. The rates of refinery utilization slipped to its lowest level since 2010 as it dropped more than 16.9 percent to 79.7 percent last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Commercial stockpiles in the United States rose more than 4.6 million barrels to 462.35 million barrels on the previous week, which means there are a lot of excess crude. Still, the oil output was affected as it dropped from 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 8.8 million bpd over the week.
Looking on futures, international benchmark for oil prices Brent crude futures added about 11 cents to finish at $54.60 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices gained 7 cents to settle at $49.16 per barrel from the last session.
Some traders are suggesting that it would take weeks for the petroleum industry to be full again as it is also hard to determine the fundamental trends of the market given its current condition.