Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Mideast Tensions Puch Oil Prices to Higher Levels

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Mideast Tensions Puch Oil Prices to Higher Levels

Article excerpt

Oil prices settled higher Thursday, propelled by an early morning runup that focused on tensions instead of possible peace in the Middle East.

Light sweet crude for October delivery closed up 85 cents at $26.77 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Similarly, some buyers of crude for refining - Sun Refining and Marketing Co. in Tulsa, Koch Industries Inc. of Wichita and Phillips 66 Co. of Bartlesville, for example - raised posted prices in Oklahoma by 75 cents to $25.25 a barrel for Oklahoma Sweet and West Texas Intermediate. Koch also buys Oklahoma Sour, which moved up 75 cents a barrel, too, to $23.90.

Posted prices have been fluctuating all week. Prices fell by $4 on Monday, rose by $1 on Tuesday and fell another $2 Wednesday before the increase of 75 cents Thursday.

The posted prices of the major buyers of crude oil in Oklahoma have been following the changes in prices in energy futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

At one point on the futures market Thursday, crude had moved up to $27.50 as traders began doubting there could be any immediate diplomatic resolution of the Persian Gulf crisis.

But a slight selloff took over later in the day, after President Bush praised the promise of higher Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries production and indicated no immediate need to tap into the nation's strategic crude reserves.

"In the afternoon, there was a bout of profit-taking," said Ann-Louise Hittle, a senior oil analyst with Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc.

On Wednesday, oil had dropped nearly $2 a barrel as speculators bet on a possible peaceful solution arising from a meeting between United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar and Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. Traders learned Thursday that the meeting had been postponed until Friday, and focused on tensions instead of diplomacy. …

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