Commodity Corner: Oil Settles Above $100

Crude oil for April delivery settled at $102.23 a barrel Wednesday as tensions in Libya appeared to escalate.

The oil futures price surged amid reports that Libya's government had launched attacks against a major oil terminal in Brega, located on the Mediterranean in rebel-held eastern Libya. Although forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi had reportedly taken the terminal, news reports later in the day indicated that the rebels had regained control of the facility.

Before Wednesday, the NYMEX oil futures contract—the WTI benchmark—had not settled above $100 since late September 2008.

Crude oil peaked at $102.37 and bottomed out at $99.21 during Wednesday's session. April natural gas ended the day a nickel lower, settling at $3.82 per thousand cubic feet. Forecasters expect above-normal temperatures to prevail throughout much of the U.S. next week, including the southern and eastern regions. As a result, traders expect natural gas demand to decrease.

Front-month natural gas traded within a range from $3.80 to $3.885.

The futures price for gasoline gained five cents to end the day at $3.03 a gallon. April gasoline fluctuated from $2.98 to $3.05 during the midweek session.