United States crude stocks up by 6 mln barrels

Oil price extend losses as other markets fall, stockpiles climb

The cuts represent 680,107 barrels per day of oil production, the bureau said, citing reports from 30 companies.

Futures dropped as much as 1.9 percent in NY, after sliding 2.4 percent Wednesday.

Technology shares tumbled on fears of slowing demand and concerns about US-China tensions. The S&P 500 Index slumped the most since February while the Nasdaq 100 Index had its worst day in seven years.

That comes as Hurricane Michael became the strongest storm to hit the US mainland since 1992, threatening to slash fuel demand in the southeast, while country-wide crude stockpiles are expected to have increased a third week.

"The bearish alarm bells are ringing for next year's oil balance as market players brace for the return of a supply surplus", said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

Almost 40% of daily crude oil production and more than one-third of natural gas output was lost from offshore US Gulf of Mexico wells on Wednesday because of platform evacuations and shut-ins ahead of Hurricane Michael.

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The country's largest privately owned crude terminal, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC, said on Tuesday it had halted operations at its marine terminal. Iran has pledged to block any OPEC supply increase that the country deems to be against its interest.

United States crude futures were trading down more than 2% at US$73.20 per barrel Wednesday morning, reflecting the declining importance of Gulf of Mexico output that has resulted from the growth of production from the nation's onshore shale fields. They earlier touched their lowest since Sept 28 at US$81.61, after closing 2.2 per cent lower on Wednesday. Total volume traded was about 77 percent above the 100-day average. The ICE Brent crude futures were increased by 94 cents per barrel or 1.19% from $79.74 per barrel, while the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) October light-sweet crude contract was 76 Cents per barrel or 1.07% higher at $71.54 per barrel.

Asked about where Brent Crude prices will be on January 1, 2019, Taylor said he wouldn't be surprised to see it $5-10 below current levels, because the season when the market won't need so much crude oil is coming. The rout continued into Asian hours, with equity benchmarks from Japan to Hong Kong plunging.

While production has been cut because of the hurricane, "down time is expected to be brief and Gulf of Mexico output now accounts for a comparatively small portion of total US production", Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note.

India's imports in August stood at 523,000 bpd, down by 32 percent compared to July, after the United States increased pressure on Iranian oil customers to significantly scale down purchases and outright stop buying Iranian oil with the USA sanctions on Tehran returning in early November. All comments are subject to editorial review. Demand for the motor fuel typically falls in the wake of a hurricane because roads become impassable and filling stations end up without power.

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