Tropical Storm Lee disrupted oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. Lee shut in nearly 5 mln barrels of oil production from Sept 3 to Sept. 9, according to Reuters estimates based on US government data. Oil prices may trade higher this week, though on a limited scale on global growth concerns led by the debt crisis in the Europe.
However, in the long term, oil markets are expected to decline, probably through 2012. Supply disruptions in Nigeria, the UK and as a result of the active Atlantic hurricane season will prove temporary. When these bullish factors wear off, it will coincide with crude and product demand seasonally declines, planned maintenance for refineries and the Northern Hemisphere the winding down of the gasoline driving season. The gradual return of Libyan oil to the global markets will another factor keeping the pressure on prices.