SINGAPORE: Crude prices rose in Asia on Monday as the onset of Tropical Storm Debby forced oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico to evacuate some platforms and rigs, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, gained 49 cents to $80.25 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for August rose 41 cents to $91.39.
“Over the weekend we see that the Gulf of Mexico has been affected by the storm and production has been disrupted,” Ker Chung Yang, commodity analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore, told AFP.
“They shut the rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, so I think this is one of the key reasons that is supporting the oil prices at the moment.”
The latest update on Debby issued by the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) on Sunday said personnel had been evacuated from 61 of the 596 manned production platforms.
Crews on 13 out of the 70 rigs currently operating in the Gulf had also been evacuated, the BSEE update showed.
It estimated that “approximately 22.7 per cent of the current daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in”.
Oil production in the Gulf of Mexico constitutes 20 per cent of US output, and any disruption in the area would have ramifications on crude prices as the US is the world's largest oil consumer.