WTI crude futures rose by 0.8% to $68.02 a barrel on Friday after falling 1.4% Thursday and is on track to gain of more than 8% for the week, which would be its strongest rise since early February, amid worries about near term supply disruptions as BHP and BP began shutting in production in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a potential hurricane forecast to hit on the weekend. Meanwhile, fresh EIA data showed the US crude oil inventories fell for the 3rd straight week. However, fears over rising cases of the Delta strain lingered as some countries in the Asia-Pacific region including Australia, Japan, and New Zealand imposed fresh restrictions to battle new outbreaks. Also, there were 32 new infections Thursday, up from 26 a day earlier. Meantime, efforts from Mexico’s Pemex to restore oil production at an offshore cluster are proving more difficult than planned as key technical issues have not yet been fully resolved, according to Reuters.