Oil prices turned lower, on Friday, after strong gains during the week, with the return of most of the American supplies that were disrupted by severe weather that hit the southern United States.
By 7:30 (GMT), the benchmark Brent crude contracts, for November delivery, fell 34 cents, or 0.45 percent, to $75.33 a barrel.
And US West Texas Intermediate crude contracts, for October delivery, fell 36 cents, or 0.5%, to $72.20 a barrel.
Crude prices had recorded strong gains in most of the week’s trading, with a slower-than-expected return to oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, after Hurricane “Ida” last August halted about 80 percent of it.
Hurricane Ida was followed by Storm Nicholas last week, which caused an additional slowdown in the return of supplies from the Gulf.
As of Thursday, about 30 percent of production was in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Wednesday, Energy Information Administration data showed a sharp decline in US crude stocks by 6.4 million barrels in a week, after which the price of Brent crude jumped above $ 76 a barrel.
In addition to the return of most of the crippled US supplies, crude prices received pressure from data that revealed the rise in Saudi oil exports last July to their highest level in seven months.
On Thursday, the Joint Data Initiative (JODI) said that the kingdom’s crude oil exports increased to 6.327 million barrels per day in July, up from 5.965 million barrels per day in June.
Also Thursday, the Libyan National Oil Corporation announced the resumption of oil exports from the Sidra and Ras Lanuf ports, one day after oil resumed at the Hariga port.
Exports were disrupted in the three ports for a week, by protesters who had camped in these ports, demanding jobs.
Libya’s oil production is about 1.3 million barrels per day, which constitutes about one percent of global supplies.
Despite the pressure on oil prices, on Friday, it is heading to record weekly gains of about 4 percent.