Oil Slips as Syria Talks Continue; Pump Price Down


The price of oil fell Friday, as the U.S. and Russia held discussions in Geneva aimed at getting Syria to give up its chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, the average price for gasoline in the U.S. dropped another penny to $3.54. That was the price three weeks ago, before the U.S. ratcheted up talk of a military intervention in Syria.

Benchmark oil for October delivery fell 39 cents, to close at $108.21 a barrel. For the week, oil dropped 1.7 percent, after closing the previous Friday at a two-year high of $110.53.

American and Russian chemical weapons experts huddled in a Geneva hotel to haggle over technical details that will be critical to reaching a deal for securing Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met to examine political developments and plot a new international conference in Geneva to support the creation of a Syrian transitional government.

“I will say on behalf of the United States that President Obama is deeply committed to a negotiated solution with respect to Syria,” Kerry said after his meeting with Lavrov.

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. In recent days, oil prices have risen and receded in accordance with the perceived likelihood of a U.S. military attack.

At the pump, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is now $3.54, after dropping 4 cents over the past week. The price is down 33 cents compared with this time last year.

One factor bringing down the price of gasoline is ample supplies. The Energy Department said Wednesday that supplies of wholesale gasoline are 10 percent above year-ago levels.

The November contract for Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, rose 17 cents, to $111.70 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

  • Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $2.77 per gallon.
  • Natural gas rose 4 cents to $3.68 per 1,000 cubic feet.
  • Heating oil was flat at $3.11 per gallon.