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Major oil producers were reported on Wednesday to have shut down nearly a third of output from the Gulf of Mexico, with the first major storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season threatening offshore platforms. A tropical depression is expected to form in the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday, with the potential to strengthen into a hurricane by the weekend. The storm or hurricane could result in heavy rainfall from Louisiana to the upper Texas coast. The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which regulates offshore drilling, said that over 600,000 bpd of oil production and 17% of the region's natural gas production were shut in by Wednesday morning. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico produces 17% of U.S. crude oil and 5% of its natural gas.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran attempted unsuccessfully on Wednesday to seize a British oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz, according to a U.S. defense official. Five boats believed to belong to the IRGC approached a British oil tanker yesterday and asked it to stop in Iranian waters close by. However, the boats withdrew after a British warship warned them over radio. Britain's Ministry of Defence had no immediate comment.

 
U.S. crude oil stockpiles dropped by almost 10 mil bbls last week , the U.S. EIA reported on Wednesday. During the week to July 5, commercial inventories of crude oil in the U.S. fell by 9.5 mil bbls, which was far in excess of the 3.1-mil-bbl decrease that was expected. Stockpiles of crude oil at the Cushing, Oklahoma, hub declined by 310,000 bbls, the EIA said.