Crude oil rose to its highest price since the Persian Gulf War in 1991, boosted by speculation that Tosco Corp. encountered new problems making gasoline at its big refinery in New Jersey.
Light sweet crude oil for delivery in January rose 45 cents to $26.16 a barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange, it highest price since the Gulf crisis.
Spot prices were raised 50 cents per barrel Wednesday by Phillips 66 Co., Koch Oil Co., Total Petroleum Inc. and NGC Oil Trading & Transportation Inc. increasing Oklahoma Sweet and West Texas Intermediate to $24.50 per barrel. Koch and Total priced Oklahoma Sour at $22.65 a barrel. NGC posted prices of $23.15 a barrel for Oklahoma Sour and $24.75 a barrel for Central Oklahoma Sweet. Posted prices rose $2.75 per barrel during the last five trading days. January unleaded gasoline rose 1.40 cents to 71.17 cents a gallon, the highest price since April 30 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. January heating oil rose only .64 cent to 74.18 a gallon after refiners narrowed the gap on supply to just 6.1 percent over levels of a year ago. January natural gas fell 9.5 cents to $4.075 for each 1,000 cubic feet. In London, North Sea Brent Blend crude oil for delivery in February settled at $23.92 per barrel, up 22 cents, at the International Petroleum Exchange. Tosco Wednesday sold refinery fuels, known as feedstocks, used at its 285,000-barrel-a-day Bayway plant in Linden, N.J., traders said. The sales bred speculation that Tosco ran into further problems with a 140,000-barrel-a-day gasoline-making unit, known as a catalytic cracker, after a small fire last week. …