Oil balanced on non-industry issues

Feb. 29, 2012 at 6:38 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices balanced at just above $107 per barrel Wednesday as tensions over Iran matched up with the European Central Bank's liquidity program.

The ECB said $713 billion was made available to banks through three-year loans at 1 percent interest, restoring liquidity to the European financial system.

In the Middle East, tension over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program has created supply worries. Nigeria and Saudi Arabia are said to be increasing production to make up the difference if Iranian exports are curtailed, but the situation has the potential to create long-term jitters in the market.

April delivery West Texas Intermediate crude prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 3 cents to hit $107.04 per barrel Wednesday. Home heating oil added 0.83 cents to $3.2142 per gallon. Reformulated gasoline gained 0.73 cents to $3.2645 per gallon.

Henry Hub natural gas prices shed 2.8 cents to $2.588 per million British thermal units.

The national average price of unleaded gasoline climbed from Tuesday's $3.716 per gallon to $3.731 per gallon, AAA said.

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