REUTERS

Oil prices inched up on Thursday as oil workers evacuated rigs in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Delta, though fuel demand concerns persisted on fading chances for a U.S. economic stimulus deal and a build in U.S. crude inventories.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 3 cents, or 0.1%, to $39.98 a barrel at 0435 GMT, after falling 1.8% on Wednesday, as reported by Reuters.

Read alsoGas imports from Europe at 14.8 bcm, setting record highBrent crude futures rose 9 cents, or 0.2%, to $42.08 a barrel, after falling 1.6% on Wednesday.

With Hurricane Delta forecast to intensify into a Category 3 storm with winds of up to 120 miles per hour (193 km per hour), oil producers have evacuated 183 offshore facilities and halted nearly 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil output.

The Gulf of Mexico produced 1.65 million bpd in July, according to the U.S. government. The region, which accounts for 17% of U.S. crude output, has been hit by several storms over the past few months, each of which only briefly dented oil output.

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