BUSINESS

Oil posts slight gain as market watches Syria; supplies drop at key US hub

09/11/2013 04:07 EDT | Updated 11/11/2013 05:12 EST
NEW YORK, N.Y. - The price of oil rose Wednesday as the market waited for the next developments regarding Syria.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery rose 17 cents to close at US$107.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil got a lift from the latest U.S. government supply data. The Energy Department said the U.S. supply of oil fell by 200,000 barrels last week. But supplies in Cushing, Okla., site of the biggest U.S. storage hub, fell an even greater 700,000 barrels.

The slight gain followed price drops Monday and Tuesday that totalled US$3.14 a barrel, the result of diplomatic efforts to avoid a U.S. strike against Syria.

In a televised speech late Tuesday, President Barack Obama said he wanted to give Syria a chance to turn over its chemical weapons before he asks Congress for consent to intervene in the country's civil war.

Oil prices have been at elevated levels for two weeks following Obama's call for action against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad in retaliation for what the White House says was a deadly chemical weapons attack against civilians last month.

Syria is not a major oil producer, but oil traders say the possibility of a wider conflict could interrupt production and shipping routes in the Middle East and cause prices to rise.

Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, rose 25 cents to US$111.50 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:wholesale gasoline fell two cents to US$2.71 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil added one cent to US$3.07 a gallon and natural gas lost two cents to US$3.57 per 1,000 cubic feet.

(TSX:ECA), (TSX:IMO), (TSX:SU), (TSX:HSE), (NYSE:BP), (NYSE:COP), (NYSE:XOM), (NYSE:CVX), (TSX:CNQ), (TSX:TLM), (TSX:COS.UN), (TSX:CVE)