US Crude, Brent Hit 3-Week Highs On Cushing, Gasoline Draw


NEW YORK, May 14 (Reuters) - Global oil prices rose on Wednesday as a draw on U.S. crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, contract delivery point and gasoline stocks pushed Brent and U.S. crude to three week highs.

U.S. crude stocks rose overall last week but inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point fell by 592,000 barrels, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.

Gasoline inventories fell by 772,000 barrels along with distillates, which were down 1.1 million barrels, as refineries cut output or went down for maintenance before the official start of the summer driving season just two weeks away.

The Ukraine crisis eased slightly as Russia backed off its threat to cut Kiev's natural gas supply if the country did not pay in advance for June. It instead asked that Kiev pay just part of the "debt" Moscow it owes.

The conciliatory tone did little to reassure European Union leaders, however, who called the demand "unjustified." Half of Europe's imports of Russian natural gas go through Ukraine.

Brent crude for June delivery extended gains for a second day to settle 95 cents higher at $110.19 a barrel, its highest settlement since April 24. The contract expires Thursday, a factor that may have exaggerated price gains because there is a lower volume of trades.

The July contract for Brent, which will become the front-month contract on Friday, rose 77 cents to settle at $109.31 a barrel.


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