Oil rises on continued tensions in Ukraine

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The price of oil edged higher Tuesday on worries over potential supply disruptions after pro-Russian rebels escalated the Ukrainian conflict by occupying a major airport, just hours after a billionaire businessman won Ukraine’s presidential election.

Prices had fallen after Ukraine’s president-elect, Petro Poroshenko, said Monday he wanted talks with Moscow on ending the insurgency in the country’s east.

Benchmark crude for July delivery was up 5 cents to US$104.40 a barrel at 2:25 a.m. ET in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Due to a U.S. public holiday, the contract last settled on Friday, when it closed at $104.35.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, gained 41 cents to $110.73 on the ICE exchange in London.

Ukraine is a key conduit for Russian gas deliveries to Europe. A proposed solution to a dispute over Ukrainian natural gas debts to Moscow raised hopes that a supply cutoff would be averted. Russia’s acceptance of Poroshenko’s victory was also regarded as a sign of easing tensions.

The resurgence of fighting, as the government in Kyiv responded with an air strike to the rebels’ occupation of the airport in Donetsk, a city of about 1 million in eastern Ukraine, underscored the uncertainties that remain.

In other energy futures trading in New York.

— Wholesale gasoline was down 0.2 cent at $3.005 a gallon.

— Natural gas shed 1.5 cents to $4.39 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil gained 1 cent to $2.965 a gallon.

(TSX:ECA, TSX:IMO, TSX:SU, TSX:HSE, NYSE:BP, NYSE:COP, NYSE:XOM, NYSE:CVX, TSX:CNQ, TSX:TLM, TSX:COS.UN, TSX:CVE)

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