Oil extends gains to remain over US$107 as Egypt violence spirals


BANGKOK–The price of oil rose Friday, boosted by fears of a potential supply disruption as violence in Egypt continues to spiral.

Benchmark crude for September delivery rose 12 cents to US$107.45 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 48 cents to close at US$107.33 per barrel on Thursday.

Brent crude, a benchmark used to price imported crude purchased by many U.S. refineries, rose 5 cents to US$109.77 per barrel.

The ouster in early July of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi has helped lift crude prices, reflecting the risk of a supply disruption from the country that controls the Suez Canal.

Egypt is not a major oil exporter, but traders worry that the violence could spill over to more important oil-exporting countries or disrupt major oil transport routes that cross Egypt.

Oil passed US$100 per barrel in early July for the first time since September as Morsi was being ousted. It reached a high for the year of US$108.15 on July 19 as Libyan output fell due to strikes at oil facilities.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Heating oil fell marginally to US$3.0793 a gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.4 cents to US$2.8584 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 0.6 cent to US$3.425 per 1,000 cubic feet.