Crude prices have climbed for a second day in a row after a fire broke out on a Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) offshore production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, killing five workers and knocking out about a quarter of the country’s production.

The fire also resulted in six injuries with Pemex reportedly planning to restore power to the platform and 125 affected wells by today.

It comes after crude prices rose on indications that China had brought its outbreak of the Delta strain of COVID-19 under control.

The West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery rose 2.9% to US$67.54 per barrel yesterday after climbing 5% on Monday.

Likewise, the broader Brent crude benchmark for October rose 3.4% to US$71.05/bbl.

ING head of commodities strategy Warren Patterson said the Chinese report alleging zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since July could ease concerns about falling oil demand.

Vaccination hesitancy could also ease after the US Food and Drug Administration gave its full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.

Crude prices could receive a further boost later today when the Energy Information Administration releases its weekly data on US petroleum supplies.

Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platt expect the EIA to report a fall of 3.2 million barrels in domestic crude supplies for the week ended 20 August.

ASX small cap oil plays

Brookside Energy (ASX:BRK) is well advanced to bring its Jewell 13-12-1S-3W SXH1 well in the SWISH Area of Interest within the world-class Anadarko Basin into production.

The company noted that oil was recovered to surface while it was carrying out operations to mill out the isolation plugs used during the multi-stage hydraulic stimulation work and circulation of drilling fluid to clean-up and remove any remaining debris, which is currently underway.

Clean-up operations are expected to take about 14 days to complete before Brookside moves to begin flow-back work.

Earlier this week, Buru Energy (ASX:BRU) spudded the Rafael-1 conventional oil exploration well in Western Australia’s onshore Canning Basin.

The well is being drilled on a large structure about 50km east of the company’s Ungani oil field and is well defined by a modern 2D seismic grid.

Rafael-1 targets mean prospective resources of 69 million barrels of oil.

It will be followed by the drilling of the Ungani-8 development well.