© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A pump jack is seen at sunrise near Bakersfield, California October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
By Paul Carsten
LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices extended gains on Wednesday after industry data showed a large draw in crude inventories in the U.S., the world’s biggest fuel consumer, and as a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico kept investors on edge.
futures for October rose by 34 cents, or 0.4%, to $85.83 a barrel by 1325 GMT. The October contract expires on Thursday and the more active November contract was at $85.24, up 33 cents.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 45 cents, or 0.55%, to $81.61.
Both benchmarks rallied by more than a dollar on Tuesday as the U.S. currency weakened after soft U.S. jobs data reduced the likelihood of further increases to interest rates.
stocks fell by a bigger than expected 11.5 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 25, market sources said, citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday.
The drop suggests firm demand, said Fujitomi Securities analyst Toshitaka Tazawa.
Investors also had an eye on Hurricane Idalia as it moved over the Gulf of Mexico to the east of major U.S. oil and production sites. The region accounts for about 15% of U.S. oil output and about 5% of natural gas production, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Oil major Chevron Corp (NYSE:) evacuated some staff from the region but production was continuing.
The EIA releases its weekly petroleum status report at 1430 GMT on Wednesday, while U.S. oil refiners are expected to register a 119,000 barrel per day (bpd) drop in refining capacity in the week ending Sept. 1 compared with a week earlier, research company IIR Energy said on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, analysts expect Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, to extend its voluntary output cut into October, keeping oil supply tight.
Based on that expectation, refining sources surveyed by Reuters forecast that Saudi Arabia’s official selling prices for all crude grades sold to Asia in October will be raised to their highest this year.
Meanwhile, the military seized power in Gabon on Wednesday, which could hit the country’s crude supplies and tighten the market further. Gabon exported a monthly average of 160,000 barrels per day to Asia from May to July, Kpler ship-tracking data showed.
Oil’s gains were capped, however, by concerns over fuel demand and the mixed economic situation in China, the world’s biggest oil importer.
Despite production cuts from Saudi Arabia, Russia and others, other exporters like Venezuela and Iran are filling some of the gap, said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.
This and “ongoing demand concerns may prevent prices from having a sustained move above $90,” he said.
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