US production could be limited for weeks

November ICE Brent futures became the front-month contract, with prices back above 72 $/b on early Wednesday. The API survey, released yesterday, reports a 4 mb draw in crude oil inventories, while gasoline inventories grew by 2.7 mb. The EIA data release, expected today, will have little impact on the market, as volatility in US fundamentals is expected to be very high this week.There is still significant uncertainty on the restart date of most offshore fields in the Gulf of Mexico. Indeed, Port Fourchon, the key onshore infrastructure that collects offshore crude oil production from large platforms such as Mars/Thunder Horse/Mad Dog, has been damaged by Ida. These platforms provide a reliable 17% of the US crude supply, for which US refineries are particularly optimized (medium sour grades). Executives at Port Fourchon are still unable to provide a startup date, which leads us to believe that US production will ramp up more slowly than the ramp-up in US refineries, at little damage was reported for Louisiana refiners. The most important issue for refiners remains the lack of stable power supply, which will We believe that US production will be restored within 20 days after Ida’s landfall.

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In Asia, Japanese runs rose last week, to reach 2.69 mb/d, amid falling commercial inventories, dropping by 2.8 mb. In India, preliminary demand data showed an improvement in gasoline demand by 2% m/m, while gasoil demand remained depressed -9.3% in August due to floods limiting economic activity. 

Today’s OPEC meeting is likely to be straightforward, as grievances from producing countries such as the UAE and Iraq were addressed at the previous OPEC cycle.

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