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Crude Prices Jump as Winter Storm Hits Production

Prices for U.S. crude oil rose more than 1% Wednesday after domestic production fell substantially in the wake of severe winter storms this month.

The West Texas Intermediate futures contract for March was last up 95 cents, or 1.28%, to trade $75.32 a barrel. The Brent futures March contract gained 71 cents, or 0.89%, to trade at $80.26 a barrel.

Production in the U.S. fell by an estimated one million barrels per day to 12.3 million bpd total for the week ending Jan. 19, according to the Energy Information Agency. Commercial crude inventories in the U.S. dropped by 9.2 million barrels during the same period.

A blast of Arctic weather hit oil output in the U.S. last week particularly in North Dakota, the third-largest crude producing state in the nation. Crude production in North Dakota was down by as much as 700,000 barrels per day last week, according to the state pipeline authority.

Output in North Dakota is recovering with production down 170,000 to 220,000 barrels per day on Wednesday, according to the pipeline authority.

Surging U.S. crude production has weighed on prices for months with estimated output returning to a record of 13.3 million bpd before the storm.

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