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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.

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.

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 15 cents to $99.34 a barrel in late-morning trade, and Brent crude for May climbed 16 cents to $107.15. 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.

Crude oil hovers below US$100 a barrel on economic, supply worries

The price of oil slipped a little on Tuesday as the market weighed potentially weaker global economic growth against continued disruptions of Libyan crude supplies. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery fell 41 cents to close at US$99.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties used by many U.S. refineries, rose seven cents to close at US$106.99 in London.

US oil price slip in expectation of crude stocks rise

US oil prices slipped Tuesday as traders anticipated a gain on stockpiles in the United States in the government's weekly crude inventory report, but prices were slightly higher in London. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in May, lost 41 cents to $99.19 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for May, the London benchmark, added 18 cents to $106.99 a barrel from Monday's closing level.

Oil market firms on Chinese import data

Global oil prices climbed on Tuesday after data showed key crude consumer China imported more record amounts last month, dealers said. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in May, gained nine cents to $99.69 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for May rose 33 cents to stand at $107.14 a barrel, from Monday's closing level. "The focus today has been on inventories following news overnight that China's crude inventories rose to a new high in February following two months of record imports," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.

Oil prices ease in Asia

Crude prices fell in Asian trade Tuesday after a key petroleum shipping channel in the United States was closed following a collision that resulted in an oil spill. Investors were also waiting for the release Wednesday of weekly crude oil stockpiles in the United States to gauge demand in the world's biggest oil consuming nation, analysts said. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery eased two cents to $99.58 a barrel in afternoon trade, and Brent North Sea crude for May dipped 13 cents to $106.68.
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