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Crude oil holds steady Tuesday

March 29, 2011 at 7:03 PM
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NEW YORK, March 29 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices held close to $104 per barrel in New York Tuesday as a jittery market has prices in a precarious balancing act.

Major closings of industrial work in Japan has somewhat balanced out the impact of fighting in Libya, which has cut supplies of hard-to-replace low-sulfur crude oil. As the conflict in Libya began, prices spiked last week to more than $106 per barrel, a 30-month high. But prices have eased back from there.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange overnight, West Texas Intermediary crude oil for May delivery shed 40 cents from a midday peak to reach $104.39 per barrel. Home heating oil prices dropped 0.2 cents to $3.0553 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices gained 0.14 cents to $3.045 per gallon.

Henry Hub natural gas prices added 1.1 cents to $4.274 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline reached $3.587 per gallon, up from Monday's $3.584, AAA said.

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