The Associated Press
The price of oil rose on Wednesday ahead of an OPEC meeting in Europe that is expected to keep production levels steady for the year even as demand looks set to grow.
Energy markets were also affected by al-Qaida-inspired militants overrunning much of the Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday. Mosul lies in an area that is a major gateway for Iraqi oil.
Benchmark U.S. oil for July delivery was up 29 cents to $104.64 a barrel at 0820 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, the contract fell 6 cents to close at $104.35.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 35 cents to $109.22 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.
Wednesday’s meeting in Vienna of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is largely expected to keep its output target of 30 million barrels a day unchanged.
Also adding to upward pressure on oil prices are the faltering talks on the Ukraine crisis, which started Sunday in Kiev between Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The talks were expected to continue daily, but there is no sign so far of a resolution.
At the same time, global indicators have suggested a pickup in growth in the second half of the year that could boost demand for energy. Japan raised its estimate of gross domestic product for the first quarter of this year. In May, hiring in the U.S. was solid for a fourth month and China’s export growth accelerated
The U.S. Energy Department’s weekly stockpiles report is due out later Wednesday. It is expected to show falls of of 1.2 million barrels in crude oil stocks and of 500,000 barrels in gasoline stocks for the week ended June 6 , according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline rose 1.2 cents to $2.987 a gallon.
— Natural gas rose 1 cent to $4.54 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Heating oil added 1.3 cents to $2.897 a gallon.