Futures Movers: Oil prices waver as doubts over Saudi output bounceback fade

Oil futures wavered between modest losses and gains on Monday, as doubts over a bounce back in Saudi crude production fade, following a report that the country has already restored much of the output lost to attacks over a week ago that damaged its oil facilities.

The Saudis have restored around 75% of the crude production lost in the Sept. 14 attacks on its oil facilities, Reuters reported, citing a source briefed on the latest developments. The damage had initially disrupted 5.7 million barrels a day of Saudi oil production, or about 5% of world output.

Earlier, crude found support following a report by The Wall Street Journal that said it may take the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., popularly known as Aramco, several months to fully restore operations. Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi energy minister, had said last week that his country would resume normal production of 9.8 million barrels by the end of this month, though some Aramco officials pointed to a 10-week timeline for full recovery.

West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery CLX19, +0.07%  on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 3 cents, or 0.05%, to $58.12 a barrel, while November Brent crude BRNX19, +0.05%, the global benchmark, was off 32 cents, or 0.5%, to $63.96 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Read: ‘Tight quarter of the Persian Gulf’ help raise spare oil capacity concerns

The market has been “getting mixed messages about how fast Saudi’s oil production can recover from last weekend’s attack,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.

“We are also getting mixed messages on the state of the global economy with weak manufacturing data coming out of Europe,” he said.

Data Monday showed that manufacturing sentiment in the eurozone, the purchasing managers index, fell to an 83-month low of 45.6 in September, from 47 in the prior month. Economists polled by FactSet expected a 47.3 reading, with any reading below 50 indicating worsening conditions.

Oil ended lower on Friday but saw strong weekly gains in the wake of the attacks on Saudi production facilities. WTI crude, the U.S. benchmark, saw a 5.9% weekly rise, its largest since the week ended June 21. Brent, the global benchmark, saw a 6.7% weekly advance, its largest since January.

In other energy trade, October gasoline RBV19, -0.29%  was down 0.7% at $1.6662 a gallon, while November heating oil HOX19, +0.26%  was up 0.2% at $1.9921 a gallon.

October natural gas NGV19, +0.00%  fell 0.7% to $2.516 per million British thermal units.

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