Oil set for first weekly gain since July as U.S. refiners return

FEMA Grants Governor Abbott's Request For Community Disaster Loans For Texas Cities Affected By Harvey

Brent crude, meanwhile, followed WTI lower, but losses for the global benchmark were most modest, a day after prices settled at their highest level since mid-April.

Futures were little changed in NY, up 3.7% for the week.

Even as the oil industry continues to grapple with the fallout from Harvey, a much bigger Hurricane was lashing the Caribbean islands and heading for the United States.

Brent crude futures dropped 19 cents to $53.19 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading 8 cents lower at $48.58, reported Reuters.

Traders said that the dip was a result of low refining activity following Hurricane Harvey, which hit the US Gulf coast two weeks ago and knocked out nearly a quarter of the country's huge refinery industry, cutting demand for crude oil, refining's lifeblood.

U.S. Gulf Coast facilities were slowly recovering from the devastating effects of Harvey, which hammered Louisiana and Texas nearly two weeks ago, shutting key infrastructure in the heart of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry.

High-speed passenger train derails in Indian capital
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The EIA reported that refinery runs last week averaged 14.5 million barrels of crude, a decline from 17.7 million bpd the week before, when the authority also reported a 5.4-million-barrel draw in crude oil inventories.

He noted the big drop in refinery utilization "almost assures" crude stockpiles will continue to rise in coming weeks.

Harvey led US refineries to operate at just 79.7% of capacity during the week ending on 1 September, resulting in a 822,000 barrel per day fall in imports when compared to the prior week to reach 7.1m barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration, the US Department of Energy's statistical arm.

Focus was shifting to three other hurricanes that are now tearing through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

"The oil market was little changed, as the recovery from Hurricane Harvey stalled at the same time that Hurricane Irma threatened to disrupt the sector in Florida", ANZ bank said. On Irma's heels, Hurricane Jose is heading for the Caribbean Leeward islands, which have just been devastated by Irma, with wind speeds of 120 miles per hour.

Harvey's impact was also felt in oil production. Harvey has passed, but new storms in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean are threatening to dump more rain on the Gulf Coast.

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