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Oil prices climb back above US$100 a barrel after attack on Nigerian oil facilities

Oil prices climb back above US$100 a barrel after attack on Nigerian oil facilities

Oil prices rebounded above US$100 a barrel Thursday after dropping by more than a dollar in the previous session, driven by an attack on oil installations in Nigeria.
The attack on Italian energy firm Eni SpA's Brass River terminal in Nigeria caused a production cut of about 50,000 barrels a day, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
Nigeria, the third-biggest overseas supplier of oil to the United States, has been beset by political violence since December 2005 often targeting its oil infrastructure.
Earlier Thursday, prices had retreated on larger-than-expected increases in U.S. crude and gasoline supplies, but rose again to near Tuesday's record close of US$100.88 a barrel also as the U.S. dollar traded at fresh lows against the euro and worries about the American economy drove more money into energy futures as a hedge against inflation.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery rose 90 cents to US$100.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by mid-afternoon in Europe.
The contract fell US$1.24 to settle at US$99.64 a barrel Wednesday after surging as high as US$102.08 a barrel, a trading record. On Tuesday, the contract jumped $1.65 to settle at a record US$100.88 a barrel.
The report by the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration showed that country's crude oil inventories rose by 3.2 million barrels, or 1 percent, to 308.5 million barrels.
Although that number is slightly lower than levels a year ago, it is well ahead of the 2.4 million barrel gain analysts had been expecting, according to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires. It was the seventh straight week the report showed a rise in crude inventories, suggesting the U.S. at least has more than enough oil to meet demand.
In London, Brent crude were up 93 cents to US$99.20 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
The EIA data showed gasoline inventories also jumped more than expected _ by 2.3 million barrels to 232.6 million barrels; analysts had expected a more modest rise of 400,000 barrels. Refinery activity also increased much more than expected.
The weakening U.S. dollar also helped prop up prices. The 15-nation euro jumped to a record US$1.51 against the greenback, meaning that crude remains a relative bargain for buyers overseas. Gold _ another commodity seen as a hedge against inflation _ also struck a record Wednesday.
In his testimony to the U.S. Congress Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned of sluggish business growth ahead, and signaled a willingness by the central bank to cut interest rates again. But Bernanke also noted that the Fed must keep a close watch on inflation given the sharp rise in energy prices and other costs.
Heating oil futures gained 2.87 cents to US$2.7998 a gallon (3.8 liters) while gasoline futures rose 0.99 cents to US$2.4876 a gallon.
Natural gas futures were up 15.5 cents to US$9.215 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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Associated Press writer Gillian Wong in Singapore contributed to this report.
(pg)


Updated : 2021-04-18 17:18 GMT+08:00