Oil prices rose more than 1% on Wednesday as US Gulf of Mexico producers made slow progress in restoring output after Hurricane Ida.

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Brent settled up $0.91, or 1.3%, at $72.60 per barrel. US West Texas Intermediate crude settled up $0.95, or 1.4%, at $69.30 per barrel.

Producers are still struggling to restart operations nine days after Ida swept through the region with powerful winds and drenching rain.

About 77% of US Gulf production remained offline on Tuesday, or 1.4 million barrels per day. About 17.5 million barrels of oil have been lost to the market so far.

The Gulf's offshore wells make up 17% of US output.

"Refinery operations appear to be making a quicker recovery," ING analysts said in a note.

Capacity of about 1 million bpd was temporarily closed, down from a peak of more than 2 million bpd, ING said, citing the latest situation report from the Department of Energy.

Traders will be closely watching inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute due later on Wednesday and the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday for a clearer picture of the storm's impact on crude production and refinery output.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect, on average, that crude stocks fell by 3.8 million barrels in the week to 3 September, and they expect gasoline stocks were down by 3.6 million barrels and distillates down by 3 million barrels.

"It's possible the loss of refining demand and the amount of crude oil might somewhat cancel itself out," said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.

The EIA said on Wednesday that it expects US crude production to fall by 200,000 bpd to 11.08 million bpd in 2021, a bigger decline than its previous forecast for a drop of 160,000 bpd.

Prices were also supported as protesters in Libya blocked oil exports at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, an engineer at each of the ports said, although other engineers said production at fields that supply the terminals was unaffected.

Meanwhile, the United Nations atomic watchdog criticised Iran for stonewalling an investigation into past activities and jeopardising important monitoring work, possibly complicating efforts to resume talks on reviving a nuclear deal.

Negotiations between world powers and Iran have been paused for almost three months since the election of a new radical president in Iran, reducing prospects of Tehran being able to resume oil exports.