Crude oil slips nearly 2% as concerns over Ukraine ease, US supplies rise

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The price of oil fell nearly two per cent Wednesday as concerns over the crisis in Ukraine eased and U.S. supplies rose for a seventh consecutive week.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery dropped $1.88, or 1.8 per cent, to close at US$101.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, oil fell $1.59 to close at $103.33.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, dropped $1.54 to US$107.76 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Russia and the West sought to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine. Still, the situation remains tense. Both pro-Western and pro-Russia demonstrations continue to flare up in the country and Russian troops are fanned out across Crimea and control most of its strategic facilities.

In the U.S., the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said supplies of oil rose by 1.4 million barrels last week. Also, demand for both gasoline and distillate fuels, which include diesel and heating oil — have fallen over the past four weeks compared with a year ago, the agency said.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex, wholesale gasoline lost five cents to US$2.94 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil fell five cents to US$2.99 a gallon and natural gas retreated 14 cents to US$4.52 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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