Oil steady as storms hit Gulf of Mexico

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    SINGAPORE- Crude oil prices remained steady on Monday as storms closed in on the Gulf of Mexico, shutting more than half the region’s oil production, although prices were capped by ongoing concerns about fuel demand being sapped by coronavirus lockdowns.

    Brent futures slipped 2 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $44.33 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was down 2 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $42.32 a barrel. Both benchmark contracts had risen early on Monday.

    On Sunday, Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura tore through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, forcing energy companies to pull workers from offshore platforms and shut down oil output.

    Producers had shut 58 percent of the Gulf’s offshore oil output and 45 percent of natural gas supply on Sunday. The region accounts for 17 percent of total US oil production and 5 percent of US natural gas output.

    “Crude prices rose as double trouble in the Atlantic could lead to huge disruptions with oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

    “Oil’s gains, however, are likely to be muted as virus uncertainty continues to weigh on the crude demand outlook.”