Oil down as Ukraine jitters ease, US supplies rise

  • Article by: The Associated Press
  • Associated Press
  • March 5, 2014 - 2:35 PM

The price of oil fell nearly 2 percent Wednesday as concerns over the crisis in Ukraine eased and U.S. supplies rose for a seventh straight week.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery dropped $1.88, or 1.8 percent, to close at $101.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, oil fell $1.59 to close at $103.33.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, dropped $1.54 to $107.76 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Russia and the West sought to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine. Still, the situation remains tense. Both pro-Western and pro-Russia demonstrations continue to flare up in the country and Russian troops are fanned out across Crimea and control most of its strategic facilities.

In the U.S., the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said supplies of oil rose by 1.4 million barrels last week. Also, demand for both gasoline and distillate fuels, which include diesel and heating oil — fell over the past four weeks compared with a year ago, the agency said.

At the gas pump, drivers are paying an average of $3.46 for a gallon, according to AAA. That's up 18 cents from a month ago, but still 28 cents cheaper than at the same time last year.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline lost 5 cents to $2.94 per gallon.

— Heating oil fell 5 cents to $2.99 per gallon.

— Natural gas retreated 14 cents to $4.52 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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