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Exclusive: Oil sector withholds information about rail cargoes - U.S. regulator

By Patrick Rucker WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. transport regulators on Friday criticized the oil industry for not sharing important information about the kinds of rail shipments that were involved in a number of recent fiery derailments. In letters with regulators and testimony to lawmakers, leaders of trade groups like the American Petroleum Institute have said since January that they will share results of their tests on fuel from North Dakota's Bakken oil patch, where the derailed trains were loaded.

Crude above $101 a barrel on higher than expected US GDP; supply worries

The price of oil advanced past US$101 a barrel Thursday following an upward revision to U.S. growth figures and ongoing concerns about tight supplies. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery rose $1.02 to close at US$101.28 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That is the highest closing price in three weeks. On Wednesday, oil jumped $1.07 to close at US$100.26. Brent crude, a contract for international varieties of oil, gained 80 cents to US$107.83 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

BP raises estimate of Lake Michigan oil spill, says between 15 and 39 barrels of oil released

WHITING, Ind. - Oil giant BP has raised its estimate of how much crude oil spilled into Lake Michigan during a malfunction at its northwestern Indiana refinery. BP said Thursday a preliminary estimate shows between 15 and 39 barrels of oil have been recovered from the lake at its Whiting refinery. That's between 630 and 1,638 gallons. The new figure is up from BP's initial estimate that nine to 18 barrels of oil entered the lake. BP says its crews have recovered "the vast majority" of oil visible along the shoreline.

Coast Guard: BP spill at Indiana plant released 9 to 18 barrels of oil into Lake Michigan

INDIANAPOLIS - An initial assessment of a Lake Michigan oil spill shows that between nine and 18 barrels of crude oil entered the lake following a malfunction at oil giant BP's sprawling northwestern Indiana refinery, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday. Coast Guard spokesman Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf said the estimate comes from the Coast Guard's initial visual assessment Tuesday of the spill scene at BP's Whiting refinery some 20 miles southeast of downtown Chicago.

Crude oil above US$100 a barrel as traders look beyond big supply increase

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The price of oil rose above US$100 a barrel Wednesday as the market looked beyond a large increase in oil supplies. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery gained $1.07 to close at US$100.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a contract for international varieties of oil, added four cents to US$107.03 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Oil prices mixed after US data

Oil prices diverged on Wednesday following another large rise in US crude inventories that offset supply disruptions in Libya and Nigeria. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in May rose 71 cents to $99.90 a barrel. Brent crude for May fell 23 cents to stand at $106.76 a barrel in late London deals.

North Dakota oilman urges U.S. crude exports to Europe

By Timothy Gardner WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ending the 40-year ban on U.S. crude exports is the fastest way the American drilling boom could bolster energy security in Europe and Ukraine, the CEO of the biggest operator in North Dakota's vast oil fields told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Oil prices steady before US data

Oil prices steadied on Wednesday, with supply disruptions in Libya and Nigeria offsetting expectations of a rise in US crude inventories, analysts said. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in May edged up eight cents to $99.27 a barrel. Brent crude for May rose four cents to stand at $107.03 a barrel in London deals. "Oil prices are continuing to tread water," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

Shell declares 'force majeure' on Nigeria crude exports

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell said Wednesday it had declared a "force majeure" on crude oil exports from Nigeria as it struggles to repair a sabotaged pipeline. Shell's subsidiary in Nigeria said the force majeure was effective from Tuesday "due to ongoing repairs on the 48-inch crude export line at Forcados Terminal in the Western Niger Delta". "Force majeure" is a legal term releasing a company from contractual obligations when faced with circumstances beyond its control.

Oil prices up in Asia on US data

Oil prices rose in Asian trade Wednesday as data showed a better-than-expected jump in US consumer confidence to a six-year high. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for May delivery, was up 21 cents to $99.40 a barrel in afternoon trade, and Brent crude for May climbed 23 cents to $107.22. The US Conference Board's index for March confidence came in at 82.3 -- its highest since January 2008 -- from 78.3 in February and far better than the 78.9 expected.
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