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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery edged down seven cents to $42.97 on the New York Merc, while Brent for October lost four cents to $45.05 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $11.65 to WTI, up from a discount of $11.75. Natural gas for October lost five cents to $2.66. The TSX energy index added a fraction to close at 82.06.
Oil prices held steady as Hurricane Laura was downgraded to a tropical depression, after inflicting far less damage to the energy sector than initially feared. One of the strongest hurricanes to ever strike the United States, Laura left around 800,000 homes without power in Texas and Louisiana, wreaked a path of mangled buildings and flooded neighbourhoods, and is blamed for 14 deaths. Search and rescue efforts are continuing along the coast. The heart of the U.S. Gulf Coast oil industry, however, avoided widespread damage. Refineries did not suffer the massive flooding that was feared and some have already restarted operations. The Port of Houston has also reopened, restoring 600,000 barrels a day of crude exports. As for producers, which shut in over 1.5 million barrels a day of offshore oil output in preparation for the storm, S&P Global Platts Analytics is forecasting that "supply could recover from Laura by the middle of next week, assuming platform inspections do not yield material damage."
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