Oil prices rise above US$86 per barrel in Asia ahead of meeting on EU crisis


SINGAPORE–Oil prices rose slightly toward US$87 a barrel Friday in Asia ahead of a summit this weekend where European leaders will try to agree on a plan to contain their region’s debt crisis. Benchmark crude for December delivery was up 39 cents at US$86.46 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 22 cents to settle at US$86.07 in New York on Thursday. Brent crude was down 26 cents at US$109.50 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London. In other Nymex trading, heating oil rose 0.4 cents to US$3.03 per gallon and gasoline futures were steady at US$2.66 per gallon. Natural gas slid 2.5 cents to US$3.61 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Crude has traded between US$85 and US$89 most of this week as traders await details of Europe’s debt plan. Analysts were also mulling the impact of the death of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on the OPEC nation’s oil production and exports. Before fighting started in February, Libya produced about 1.6 million barrels a day, but violence quickly reduced output to a trickle.