Oil futures traded near unchanged Friday, pausing after a rally in the previous session that saw Brent crude, the global benchmark, post its highest close in nearly three years.
West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery
the U.S. benchmark, was off 22 cents, or 0.3%, at $73.08 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after finishing Thursday at its highest since July.
the most actively traded contract, was down 13 cents, or 0.2%, at $76.33 a barrel. November Brent on Thursday posted the highest front-month finish since Oct. 29, 2018.
“The price rise is being facilitated by limited supply (production outages in the Gulf of Mexico, lower OPEC+ production than agreed) coupled with robust demand, causing the oil market to tighten noticeably,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on Thursday estimated that 16.2% of U.S. Gulf oil production, or around 294,414 barrels a day, remained shut in after Ida made landfall on the Louisiana coast on Aug. 29. Meanwhile, refinery activity has rebounded more quickly than production, analysts noted.
Reuters earlier this week reported that members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, have struggled to boost production after agreeing to begin further easing output curbs starting in August.