Oil prices fall for third day as Gulf Coast infrastructure recovers from Tropical Storm Beryl

Environment

U.S. crude oil prices fell for the third straight session on Tuesday, as Gulf Coast oil infrastructure appears to have avoided any substantial damage from Tropical Storm Beryl.

On Monday, Beryl made landfall in Matagorda, Texas, as a Category 1 hurricane but later weakened into a tropical storm. Beryl has moved inland as a tropical depression and is now north of Shreveport, Louisiana, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“Hurricane Beryl has not only dumped water on all in its path, but it has also quenched some of the bullish fervour that was slowly developing within the oil fraternity,” John Evans, an analyst at oil broker PVM, said in a note on Tuesday.

Here are today’s energy prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate August contract: $82.07 per barrel, down 26 cents, or 0.32%. Year to date, U.S. oil has gained 14.5%.
  • Brent September contract: $85.51 per barrel, down 24 cents, or 0.28%. Year to date, the global benchmark is ahead by 10.9%.
  • RBOB Gasoline August contract: $2.53 per gallon, little changed. Year to date, gasoline is up 20.6%.
  • Natural Gas August contract: $2.38 per thousand cubic feet, up 1 cent, or 0.72%. Year to date, gas is down 5%.

The port of Corpus Christi, a leading oil export terminal, has transitioned to post-storm recovery with no significant impact reported, according to a statement. But all terminals at the port of Houston will remain closed Tuesday to assess and repair damage, according to a social media statement.

Shell said late Monday that it is redeploying personnel to its Perdido platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil company had a shut-in production at the platform on Friday as Beryl barreled toward Texas.

The market’s reaction to the storm has been “curiously muted,” Evans said. But Beryl may serve as a warning of what’s to come later in the season. Colorado State University has forecast an “extremely active Atlantic hurricane season” with 11 hurricanes expected, above the 1991 to 2020 average of 7.2 storms.

The market is also looking ahead to the release of U.S. crude oil inventory data on Wednesday. Traders have been hoping U.S. oil and gasoline inventories will fall in a sustained fashion, signaling an uptick in demand after summer fuel consumption got off to a soft start this summer.

U.S. oil inventories fell by 12.2 million barrels for the week ended June 28, and gasoline stocks declined by 2.2 million barrels in a potential bullish sign for the market.

Macquarie, however, is forecasting that oil inventories dropped by 1.2 million barrels last week, with the total balance “only modestly tighter than we had anticipated,” according to a Monday note.

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