Oil prices rose today and are on track to post big gains for the week on worries about supply disruptions as energy companies began shutting production in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a possible hurricane forecast to hit on the weekend.
Brent crude futures were $1.02, or 1.4%, higher at $72.09 a barrel today.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed $1.09, or 1.6%, to $68.51 a barrel.
For the week, Brent is on track for a rise of more than 10%, its biggest weekly jump since June 2020.
WTI is headed for a weekly gain of more than 9%, which would be its strongest rise since September 2020.
"Energy traders are pushing crude prices higher in anticipation of disruptions in output in the Gulf of Mexico and on growing expectations OPEC+ might resist raising output given the recent Delta variant impact over crude demand," Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA said.
Companies started airlifting workers from Gulf of Mexico oil production platforms yesterday.
BHP and BP said they had begun to stop production at offshore platforms as a storm brewing in the Caribbean Sea was forecast to barrel through the Gulf on the weekend.
Gulf of Mexico offshore wells account for 17% of US crude oil production and 5% of dry natural gas production. Over 45% of total US refining capacity also lies along the Gulf Coast.
The prospect of US Gulf supply outages helped turn the market around from losses yesterday, which had been partly spurred by output returning at a Mexican oil platform following a fatal fire.
Prices for oil and other risky assets were also pressured by US Federal Reserve officials' comments that the central bank must get on with its stimulus tapering.