Commodity Corner: Oil Edges Up ahead of OPEC Meeting

Oil futures gained 0.1 percent Tuesday as traders await results from this week's OPEC meeting.

Crude for July delivery gained 8 cents to settle at $99.09 a barrel. Prices dropped as low as $97.74 before rebounding in the last 90 seconds of trading. A weaker dollar helped prevent oil prices from dropping too low.

The 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will be meeting Wednesday for the first time since the political uprising in the Middle East and North Africa. Analysts anticipate that OPEC members will increase oil production in an effort to hinder rising energy prices. By increasing production, oil prices may decrease—making up for the loss of Libyan exports due to the unrest. However, as global demand increases, it may be harder for OPEC to provide additional crude later—ultimately increasing oil prices.

Due to above-average temperatures, front-month natural gas rose for the second straight day settling at a 10-month high. Natural gas gained nearly a penny, ending the trading session at $4.83 per thousand cubic feet. The heat spurs demand for air conditioning, in term boosting the need for power-plant fuel. The intraday range for natural gas was $4.764 to $4.854 Tuesday. 

July gasoline settled at $2.99 a gallon, up 4.20 cents from the previous session. Prices for gasoline traded between $2.928 and $3.002 Tuesday.