REUTERS

Oil prices were in a holding pattern on Thursday as a massive storm in the Gulf of Mexico raced towards the heart of the U.S. oil industry, forcing oil rigs and refineries to shut, with little impact expected on supply as oil stockpiles remain high.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures fell 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $43.35 a barrel by 0148 GMT, erasing Wednesday's slight rise, as reported by Reuters.

Read alsoReuters: Brent rises on U.S. output cuts ahead of biggest storm threat in 15 yearsBrent crude LCOc1 futures for October, which expire on Friday, inched up 5 cents to $45.69 a barrel after falling 22 cents, or 0.5%, on Wednesday. The more active November Brent contract LCOc2 rose 2 cents to $46.18.

The threat from Hurricane Laura pushed the market higher earlier in the week, but the storm is not expected to affect supplies much because oil and product inventories remain high due to the coronavirus pandemic's hit to fuel demand.

U.S. crude inventories stood at 507.8 million barrels at the end of the week to Aug. 21, even after a larger-than-expected drop of 4.7 million barrels.

Laura intensified on Wednesday and is now forecast to bring heavy rains and catastrophic, 150 mile-per-hour (240 kph) winds that will drive ocean waters up to 40 miles (64 km) inland, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.