Oil Near $102 On Ukraine Crisis; US Gas Prices Up
The price of oil rose to near $102 a barrel Thursday on worries about tensions in Ukraine.
Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery rose 50 cents to close at $101.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gained $1.22 to $110.33 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Ukraine is going through its biggest political crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, sparked by months of anti-government protests and President Viktor Yanukovych's flight to Russia.
Ukrainian forces launched an operation Thursday to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the country's tumultuous east. In response, Russia's defense minister announced new military exercises for troops massed near Ukraine's border.
Gains for U.S. crude oil were limited because of bulging oil supplies.
The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that oil supplies rose 3.5 million barrels in the week that ended April 18. That exceeded the expectations of analysts surveyed by Platts, who forecast an increase of 3.1 million barrels. At a record 397.7 million barrels, supplies are now 2.3 percent above year-earlier levels.
Meanwhile, the average price for a gallon of gasoline jumped to $3.685, the highest since March 22, 2013. The average is up 15 cents from a year ago, and is 17 cents higher than at this time last year.
In other energy futures trading in New York:
- Wholesale gasoline was flat at $3.09 a gallon.
- Heating oil rose 3 cents to $3.01 a gallon.
- Natural gas fell 2.5 cents to $4.705 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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