Oil Posts Slight Gain as Market Watches Syria


 The price of oil rose Wednesday, as the market waited for the next developments regarding Syria.

Benchmark oil for October delivery rose 17 cents to close at $107.56 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil got a lift from the latest government supply data. The Energy Department said the nation’s supply of oil fell by 200,000 barrels last week. But supplies in Cushing, Okla., site of the biggest U.S. storage hub, fell an even greater 700,000 barrels.

The slight gain in oil followed losses Monday and Tuesday that totaled $3.14 a barrel, the result of diplomatic efforts to avoid a U.S. strike against Syria.

In a speech to the nation late Tuesday, President Barack Obama said he wanted to give Syria a chance to turn over its chemical weapons before he asks Congress for consent to intervene in the country’s civil war.

Oil prices have been at elevated levels for two weeks, following Obama’s call for action against the government of Syrian president Bashar Assad in retaliation for what the White House says was a deadly chemical weapons attack against civilians last month.

Syria is not a major oil producer, but oil traders say the possibility of a wider conflict could interrupt production and shipping routes in the Middle East and cause prices to rise.

Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, rose 25 cents to $111.50 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

  •  Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $2.71 per gallon.
  •  Natural gas lost 2 cents to $3.57 per 1,000 cubic feet.
  •  Heating oil added 1 cent to $3.07 per gallon.