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Tropical Storm Barry intensified in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, resulting in energy firms evacuating staff from offshore facilities and a refinery on the coast. According to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, energy producers have removed staff from 191 production platforms. In addition, 7 rigs and 11 drill ships were evacuated or moved out of Barry's path. The evacuations have resulted in a shutdown of over 1 mil bpd of oil production – representing 53% of output from the Gulf of Mexico – as well as 1.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas production, the regulator added. Phillips 66 evacuated staff and halted operations at its oil refinery at Alliance, Louisiana, which has an output capacity of 253,600 bpd. Phillips 66's Alliance refinery sits next to the river 63 km south of New Orleans.

OPEC forecast on Thursday in its regular monthly report that global demand for its oil will decline in 2020, due largely to higher output from non-OPEC producers. In providing its first projections for 2020, OPEC estimated that the world will required 29.27 mil bpd of oil from OPEC’s members, which is 1.34 mil bpd lower than in 2019.

Britain said on Thursday that its warship fended off an Iranian attempt to block a British-owned oil tanker transiting in the Straits of Hormuz. Three Iranian vessels had approached the oil tanker British Heritage, which is operated by BP, in the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and the Arabian peninsula. "HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away," a British government spokesman said in a statement. The statement urged Iran to "de-escalate the situation in the region". Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed as "worthless" the allegation that Iran sought to block the British Heritage.