Extending its gains for a second day, crude oil rose 1.2 percent Tuesday as equities rallied and Libyan rebels advanced in securing the capital.
Rolling in a new front-month contract for October delivery, crude gained $1.02 to settle at $85.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). Used for pricing many international oil varieties, Brent crude, reversed yesterday's losses to end $1.41 higher at $109.77 a barrel.
Although reports show that Libyan rebels have captured Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli, uncertainty remains over how quickly a new government can bring the country's oil production back online. Libya's political turmoil has pushed Brent futures to soar past $100 a barrel this year.
Meanwhile, U.S. equities continued to rally Tuesday on anticipation that the Federal Reserve will soon signal additional help for the economy.
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the East Coast in the U.S. just before 2 p.m. Tuesday. Afternoon trading continued on and NYMEX crude futures still settled at their highest in nearly a week.
The intraday range for crude was $83.40 to $86.39 a barrel and $107.20 to $109.79 for ICE Brent crude.
In other NYMEX trading, natural gas futures got shaken upwards Tuesday to settle 2.7 percent higher at $3.99 per thousand cubic feet. Natural gas trading welcomed a late-session boost on concerns that the earthquake could affect the region's nuclear activity.
The National Hurricane Center said that Hurricane Irene, currently a Category 2 storm, is expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours into a major hurricane. Irene is not expected to threaten production in the Gulf of Mexico.
After fluctuating between $2.80 and $2.899, September gasoline gained 4.15 cents settling at $2.8766 a gallon.
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