Oil climbed further above $74 on Monday, within sight of its record high, as OPEC kept a lid on output in the run-up to its September 11 ministerial meeting.
Market participants were keeping watch of a potentially catastrophic Category 5 storm in the Atlantic Ocean. Current projections show it avoiding offshore U.S. oil and gas fields.
U.S. crude was up 16 cents at $74.20 by 6:52 a.m EDT. The U.S. Labor Day holiday shut the New York trading floor but electronic trade continued as usual.
London Brent crude was up 37 cents at $73.06.
OPEC kept a lid on its oil production in August, a Reuters survey found, suggesting the exporter group is intent on retaining output curbs when it gathers next week in Vienna.
Consumer nations have been calling for more oil as the price climbs back towards its August 1 record high of $78.77. OPEC has repeatedly said shortfalls of refined products are not their problem and the world is amply supplied with crude.
In my opinion, supply is sufficient, Qatar Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah told Reuters on Monday. I don't think OPEC has anything to do at the meeting next week.
The 10 OPEC countries subject to output restrictions -- all except Iraq and new member Angola -- kept production little changed at 26.74 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, the Reuters survey showed.
Total OPEC supply fell because of a drop in Iraqi exports.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, source of more than a third of the world's oil, agreed last year to lower production by 1.2 million bpd from November 1 and by a further 500,000 bpd from February 1.
U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas producers were monitoring Hurricane Felix as it churned through the Caribbean Sea on Sunday, but none has reported reduced offshore production or evacuated workers to onshore locations.
Felix, which had top sustained winds of 165 mph (270 kph) by 8 p.m. EDT, was forecast to cross the southern Caribbean into the Yucatan peninsula and then through Mexican offshore production areas in the Bay of Campeche.
Oil and gas companies available on Sunday said decisions to evacuate workers who are not essential to production from offshore platforms were unlikely to be made before Tuesday.
(additional reporting by Fayen Wong)