Oil held over $96 a barrel in early trading Friday as forecasters kept an eye on Tropical Storm Isaac, which is likely to move into the Gulf of Mexico next week as a low-level hurricane, Bloomberg reported.
Crude futures rose 34 cents in early trading Friday to $96.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures have closed over $96 every day but one in the past week.
Oil closed at $97.26 a barrel on Wednesday, its highest Nymex closing price since May 7, Bloomberg figures showed.
Isaac, currently a tropical storm off the southern coast of Haiti, is expected to strengthen and make landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast between Florida and Texas as a Category 1 hurricane next week, according the National Hurricane Center. Category 1 is the lowest of five storm-strength categories.
While a relatively low threat to Gulf Coast refineries, which make up almost a third of U.S. oil production, those facilities could lose 2 to 3 million barrels of production due to precautionary shutdowns because of the storm, Bloomberg reported, citing analysts.