SINGAPORE, June 28 (AP): Crude oil prices rose above $72 a barrel Wednesday on anticipated strong gasoline demand over the July Fourth weekend and Iran's continued resistance to shut down its nuclear enrichment program.
Traders also were anticipating the US government's weekly petroleum supply report to be released later in the day
A fall in the gasoline inventories now will be a trigger for a bullish market," said Tetsu Emori, chief commodities strategist for Mitsui Bussan Futures in Tokyo. "The US can't produce as much gasoline as they want to, and supply and demand is getting tighter."
Light, sweet crude for August delivery rose 17 cents to $72.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent crude futures on the ICE Futures exchange climbed 44 cents to settle at $71.42 a barrel.
Gasoline futures rose 0.15 cents to $2.2000 a gallon after rising almost 2 cents Tuesday as the shutdown of a key shipping channel near Lake Charles, La., disrupted crude oil supply to three nearby oil refineries and forced them to reduce fuel production.
The disruptions came days ahead of the Indendence Day holiday, when gasoline demand typically peaks as Americans hit the road.
Last week, oil prices rose after government data showed a smaller-than-expected build in domestic gasoline inventories.
The US Coast Guard said Tuesday the Calcasieu Ship Channel remains closed but that limited tug and barge traffic has resumed through an intercoastal waterway.
The channel has been off limits due to the spread of oil from a spill last week at the Citgo Petroleum Corp. facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana. It could remain closed through the end of the week, depending on how the cleanup proceeds, according to Coast Guard petty officer Chad Saylor.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures rose slightly to $1.9670 a gallon, while natural gas futures rose a cent to $6.120 per 1,000 cubic feet.