09/03/2013 04:12 EDT | Updated 11/03/2013 05:12 EST

Oil rises as President Obama gets support for punitive Syria action

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Oil rose above $108 a barrel Tuesday as President Barack Obama won the support of key Republicans for a punitive U.S. military strike against Syria.

Obama said Tuesday that he's confident Congress will authorize a military strike against the regime of President Bashar Assad to respond to an attack in the Damascus suburbs last month that the U.S. says killed at least 1,429 civilians. Congress could vote as early as next week, after it returns from summer break.

Obama won the support of House Speaker John Boehner, who said that the United States has "enemies around the world that need to understand that we're not going to tolerate this type of behaviour." House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, also gave his backing to military action. But Congress is still divided, with some Democrats and Republicans saying they won't give the president authorization to use force.

Benchmark crude for October delivery gained 89 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $108.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Nymex floor trading was closed Monday because of Labor Day. Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, rose $1.35, or 1.2 per cent, to $115.68 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

While Syria is not a major oil producer, it straddles a region that is. The possibility of a wider conflict, one that could interrupt production and shipping routes in the region, has pushed oil prices higher in the past week.

Besides the uncertainty over developments in the Middle East, oil prices have been supported in recent days by stronger-than-expected manufacturing data from China and the European Union.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline dropped 3 cents to $2.86 per gallon.

— Heating oil rose 1 cent to $3.15 per gallon.

— Natural gas climbed 9 cents to $3.67 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.