"Hurricanes can have a lasting effect on refinery and industry demand", said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. US refineries increase their oil demand as they recover from recent flooding.
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.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $49.16 barrel at 0154 GMT, 7 cents above their last settlement.
The capacity shutdowns have done global oil prices good and now news of more possible supply disruptions are supporting them, too.
Oil prices steadied late in the U.S. session on Thursday with resistance on approach to the $49.20 p/b level in WTI. However, U.S. oil production also hit, with weekly output down from 9.5 million bpd to 8.8 million bpd. USA oil output dropped by almost 8 percent, from 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 8.8 million bpd, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
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"Irma looks like it will miss the key Gulf areas, and we're more anxious about shale", said Mark Watkins, regional investment manager at U.S. Bank.
Port and refinery closures along the Gulf coast and harsh sea conditions in the Caribbean have also impacted shipping.
With storm Katia about to hit the Mexican Gulf coast, there are three major hurricanes now active in the region.
Analysts said that it can take weeks for normalisation of U.S. petroleum industry, which may again be affected as Irma is anticipated to hit Florida. Hurricane Irma hit the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Friday, heading for Cuba and the Bahamas. It was predicted to hit Florida on Sunday or Monday.
Another Atlantic storm, Jose, is following on Irma's heels and is expected to gain in strength and intensify into a major hurricane by Friday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.