Oil approaches $108 on falling supplies

PAMELA SAMPSON, AP Business Writer

BANGKOK (AP) — The price of crude rose Thursday after the latest data showed slightly declining oil inventories in the United States.

Benchmark oil for October delivery rose 10 cents to $107.66 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 17 cents to close at $107.56 on the Nymex on Wednesday.

The American Petroleum Institute released data showing U.S. crude supplies fell 177,000 barrels to 359.5 million barrels for the week ending Sept. 6. That’s in line with the U.S. Energy Department estimate released Wednesday that put the drop at 200,000 barrels.

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The slight gain in oil prices on Wednesday and Thursday followed losses Monday and Tuesday that totaled $3.14 a barrel, the result of diplomatic efforts to avoid a U.S. strike against Syria. The Obama administration has threatened action against President Bashar Assad, whom the U.S. says is responsible for a deadly chemical weapons attack against civilians.

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 20 cents to $111.70 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

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— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.7 cents to $2.719 per gallon.

— Natural gas lost 0.6 cents to $3.561 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil added 0.9 cent to $3.0812 per gallon.


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