Oil prices rise as stockpiles fall


The price of oil rose above $100 a barrel on Wednesday on a surprise decline in U.S. supplies and the continuing conflict in Ukraine.

U.S. crude for June delivery rose $1.27 to close at $100.77 a barrel in New York.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international crude used by many U.S. refineries, rose $1.07 to close at $108.13 a barrel in London.

The Energy Department reported Wednesday that U.S. crude oil stocks fell by 1.8 million barrels last week. Supplies are still higher than their five-year average for this time of year, but the drop surprised traders.

Analysts had expected an increase of 1.3 million barrels in crude oil stocks, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Tension between Russia, a major oil and gas exporter, and Western nations over the fate of Ukraine’s restive eastern regions has kept upward pressure on energy prices in recent weeks. Traders worry that the flow of Russian crude could be interrupted. The U.S. and European nations have impo-
sed sanctions on some individuals and parts of the Russian economy, though the sanctions have so far avoided Russia’s energy industry.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

n Wholesale gasoline rose 3.2 cents to close at $2.918 a gallon.

n Heating oil rose 4 cents to close at $2.928 a gallon

n Natural gas fell 5.9 cents to close at $4.74 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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