Oil rises on expectations of greater demand during U.S. cold snap

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UNDATED — The price of oil rose slightly Thursday as expectations of greater use of heating oil during extreme cold weather in North America offset signs of weak demand for gasoline.

Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery was up 30 cents to US$92.63 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract fell $1.34 to $92.33 on Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Department said supplies of gasoline rose by 6.2 million barrels last week, a jump of nearly 3 per cent. Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill, said the data indicated that demand for gasoline was the lowest in a year.

Prices recovered a bit Thursday as the record-breaking cold affecting the northern U.S. boosted demand for heating oil.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, was up 36 cents to $107.54 on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was up 1.2 cents at $2.668 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 5.4 cents to $4.162 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was up 1.2 cents to $2.961 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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