Oil up on Middle East fears ahead of Fed decision

AP News
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Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:56 AM
Oil up on Middle East fears ahead of Fed decision

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil remains higher as traders keep one eye on unrest in the Middle East and the other on the U.S. Federal Reserve.

There is broad speculation that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will unveil a bond-buying program or other steps designed to boost the U.S. economy.

But while waiting for that decision, there are new concerns about unrest in the Middle East. Protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen's capital Thursday, and there is violence around the U.S. mission in Cairo. The U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed Tuesday.

Benchmark crude is up 76 cents to $97.77 per barrel in morning trading. Brent crude rose 30 cents to $115.61 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. rose to $3.87, the highest since April 21. Refiners have run short on supplies of summer blends of gas, particularly in the Northeast. They're allowed to start selling cheaper winter blends this weekend.

Natural gas dropped below $3 after the Energy Department said supplies rose last week.

Natural gas in storage increased by 27 billion cubic feet to 3.429 trillion cubic feet for the week that ended Sept. 7. The supply is 11.1 percent more than the year-ago level of 3.087 trillion cubic feet and 9 percent more than the five-year average of 3.145 trillion cubic feet.

Natural gas is down 7 cents to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.