Source Pravda.Ru

Oil prices back below $60 a barrel as Wilma misses oil platforms

World oil prices slips today as Hurricane Wilma looked set to miss energy facilities in the US Gulf of Mexico.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, dived 98 cents to 59.65 usd per barrel in electronic deals.

"The market was back down almost a dollar and is expected to continue to weaken, with Brent due to head to 55 dollars, and potentially 50 dollars by the year-end, depending on how cold the winter in the US and Europe turns out to be," Sucden analyst Sam Tilley said, reports Forbes.

London Brent crude lost 96 cents to $57.52 a barrel.

"The market has been sold off after the Hurricane headed for Florida instead of the Gulf Coast. So oil production is not affected," said Tony Nunan at Mitsubishi Corp. in Tokyo.

Wilma, after devastating Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, spared oil and gas output in the Gulf Coast. The 22nd named tropical storm, Alpha, posed no danger to Gulf facilities as it soaked Haiti and the Dominican Republic, before weakening.

Some 65.79 percent of the normal 1.5 million barrel-per-day (bpd) of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut on Friday, compared with 64.52 percent on Thursday, the MMS said.

Expectations that high prices will slow oil demand are dampening speculators' appetite, dealers said.

"These concerns also led to a reduction in speculative long positions in the futures market, resulting in less speculative support for spot prices," said Gerard Burg from National Australia Bank in a monthly report.

U.S. data also showed a decline in total oil product demand deepening to 3.2 percent over the past four weeks, informs Reuters.

P.T.