Crude prices diverge on worry of refineries' recovery

New York and London oil markets have diverged dramatically Thursday, while crude oil prices on NYME rose Thursday on worries over US refineries' recovery from hurricanes Rita and Katrina, but the London market fell.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange light sweet crude for delivery in November, New York's main contract, added 44 cents to close at 66.79 dollars a barrel. Gasoline futures fell nearly 9 cents to settle at 2.2516 dollars a gallon, and heating oil eased more than a penny to 2.1247 dollars a gallon.

But in London, the price of Brent North Sea crude for November delivery declined 9 cents to 63.84 dollars a barrel. It was rare that the New York and London markets have diverged.

The US Minerals Management Service said Thursday that Gulf Coast output improved only slightly from a day earlier. Suspended oil production slipped to 98.59 percent, or 1.48 million barrels of oil per day, from 100 percent Wednesday, while suspended natural gas production was slightly lower at 79.79 percent, or 7. 98 billion cubic feet per day, from 80.27 percent.

The US Energy Information Administration warned Wednesday that as much as 15 percent of US refinery capacity could remain off line for "at least another couple of weeks," as the US Department of Energy showed a sharp drop in crude oil inventories of 2.4 million barrels over the past week.

Source: Xinhua



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