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Crude oil prices fell Thursday, trimming recent gains after industry data showed USA oil inventories rose less than forecast last week.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $48.98 barrel, 11 cents below their last settlement.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 , the benchmark for oil prices outside the United States, dipped 21 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $53.99 a barrel, remaining near May highs marked the day before.

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While refineries, pipelines and offshore platforms resume operations after Harvey, another Atlantic hurricane, known as Irma, is approaching the U.S. coast and is set to hit Florida tomorrow. As of late Thursday, data from S&P Global Platts showed that 12.8% of USA refinery capacity was down due to the storm.

USA crude oil prices rose and gasoline prices fell at the start of the holiday-shortened week as the gradual restart of refineries in the Gulf of Mexico that were shut by Hurricane Harvey raised demand for crude and eased fears of a serious supply crunch.

Energy prices have continued to gain support from a weak dollar with the U.S. currency sliding to a 31-month low on a trade-weighted basis. The Energy Information Administration on Thursday reported (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-gains-ahead-of-expected-drop-in-gasoline-stockpiles-2017-09-07) that US crude inventories rose 4.6 million barrels for the week ended September 1. It has also closed all ports along the Texas coast.

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The Baker Hughes data will be released on Friday with the potential for a significant decline in the number of active rigs given the impact of hurricane Harvey, although there will be a considerable element of uncertainty and the overall data impact should be reduced. "The impact of the forces of nature on US oil production should not be overestimated - nor should their impact on demand be underestimated". "Imports (of oil) to the U.S. Gulf Coast fell to levels not seen since the 1990s", ANZ said. October heating oil lost 2.1 cents, or 1.2%, to $1.765 a gallon, trading around 1% higher on the week.

Gasoline inventories fell 2.5 million barrels. It is down about 5% for the week. It is likely to have an impact on gasoline demand.

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