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Oil mixed as US facilities avoid Isaac's fury

LONDON--Crude oil prices traded mixed Thursday as supply concerns eased after Hurricane Isaac left production facilities in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico relatively unscathed, analysts said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October added 66 cents to US$113.20 a barrel in early afternoon London deals.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for October retreated 15 cents to US$95.34 a barrel.

Fears about disruption to supply in the U.S. Gulf from Hurricane Isaac had depressed prices but in the end proved unfounded, said Sanjeev Gupta, who heads the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at Ernst and Young.

“Most of the production facilities were shut down in advance of the storm, but early reports indicated fairly limited supply disruptions, thus taking some of the pressure off prices,” he told AFP.

The Gulf of Mexico is the hub of U.S. offshore energy production, accounting for 23 percent of crude oil output and 7.0 percent for natural gas.

The Gulf coast's facilities also have more than 40 percent of total U.S. petroleum refining capacity and 30 percent of natural gas processing plant capacity.

Meanwhile, investor sentiment remains cautious on the eve of a speech from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

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