UPDATE: Oil gains on talk of an output-cut extension, storm supply risks
By Myra P. Saefong, MarketWatch , Sara McFarlane
EIA data show U.S. output at highest level in over 2 years
Oil prices inched higher Thursday, buoyed by talk of an extension for a deal to cut output, a bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude supplies, and concerns about energy production as a potential hurricane approaches the Gulf of Mexico.
Traders, however, remained concerned over domestic production, which reached its highest level in over two years last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, November West Texas Intermediate crude rose 93 cents, or 1.9%, to $50.91 a barrel. December Brent crude , the global oil benchmark, rose $1.28, or 2.3%, to $57.08 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is evacuating staff from a platform and Chevron Corp. (CVX) is preparing to shut down two platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Reuters, as the region gets ready for Tropical Storm Nate. It's expected to become a hurricane by the weekend (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tropical-depression-nearing-nicaragua-could-still-become-hurricane-by-weekend-nhc-2017-10-05) and move through the center of the Gulf, which would threaten oil production and refinery activity in the area.
Meanwhile, Saudi King Salman is currently on a visit to Moscow, a first for a Saudi monarch (https://www.wsj.com/articles/opec-pushes-russia-to-continue-helping-on-oil-prices-1507189955). Saudi Arabia, a heavyweight member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and non-OPEC member Russia, are expected to discuss a possible extension of production cuts.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that OPEC and allies could extend the cuts until the end of 2018," said Adrienne Murphy, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.