Oil gains as Iraq violence weighs on supply fears

The Associated Press

The price of oil climbed on Thursday as the violence gripping energy producer Iraq continued to weigh on supply fears, with global crude pushing higher after hitting a nine-month high.

Army troops and Islamic militants battled for control of Iraq’s largest oil refinery, which by late Wednesday remained in government hands. All of the facility’s output is used domestically so crude production and exports aren’t affected but the violence underscores how the fighting may threaten the energy infrastructure that Iraq is rebuilding to meet global demand.

The price of benchmark crude for July delivery rose 57 cents to $106.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 39 cents to settle at $105.97 on Wednesday, the first time in a week it finished under $106 after a U.S. Energy Department report showed supplies dropped far less than expected last week.

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Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 30 cents to $114.56 a barrel in London, a day after it added 81 cents to close at its highest level since September.

In other energy futures trading:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.9 cent to $3.076 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 1.9 cent to $4.64 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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— Heating oil rose 0.5 cent to $3.052 a gallon.