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Oil rises slightly as Gulf waterway closes

The price of oil edged higher Monday as traders waited to see how long a key transit route in the Gulf would be closed following an oil spill there.

Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery rose 14 cents to close at $99.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, slipped 11 cents to $106.81 a barrel

On Saturday, a barge carrying about 900,000 gallons of heavy oil collided with a ship in the Houston Ship Channel, spilling as much as 168,000 gallons into one of the world's busiest waterways. More than 80 ships have been forced to wait to enter or leave the bay.

Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates, said the oil prices could shoot higher if the waterway isn't open by the end of the week.

Soft Chinese economic data kept a lid on prices Monday. The preliminary version of HSBC's purchasing managers' index for China showed manufacturing dropped to an eight-month low, while factory output shrank at the fastest pace in 18 months.

Some investors bet the data would spur China to introduce economic stimulus measures to prevent a deeper slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

- Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $2.89 a gallon.

- Heating oil dropped 1 cent to $2.91 a gallon.

- Natural gas lost 4 cents to $4.28 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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jim March 24 2014 at 9:45 PM

Why don't these clowns, the oil company's take the hit for this mess instead of the consumer for their own mistakes? Instead it gives them the reason to screw us even more & another reason to jack up the prices. They can't get their annual 100 million or more bonus every year. They , the oil co.'s have been buying up the coal, natural gas, solar co.'s for decades. They plan on owning our asses for decades if not centuries in every power system out there , even nuclear power. Now there is a conglomerate that s/b broken up if I ever saw one. A.T & T was broken up about 3 decades ago, the service was great, the price was ok & after the breakup , you paid 3 times the price for everything & the service sucked. You tell me who got the back door payoff on this one. No matter which way you turn, we the consumer gets screwed & our non- existant gov't does absolutely nothing to protect us.

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blackcoffeeparty March 24 2014 at 7:58 PM

Let's see, there have been a number of explosions at B.P. facilities in Texas City and the price of gas went up afterwards each time. What makes it a surprise that the price of oil goes up after this latest "accident"?

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rpersuhn March 24 2014 at 7:57 PM

Any reason to raise the price.

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dvc2042 March 24 2014 at 7:35 PM

Hey big oil companies---My car leaks a bit of oil each day--Does that qualify for a price increase??

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1 reply
tish232 dvc2042 March 24 2014 at 8:06 PM

They don't need any help , they come up with enough reasons...not all valid of course, but hey, they are just in it for the money anyhow.

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sweathogi March 24 2014 at 7:33 PM

Those robber barrons the oil companies will use any excuse to gougee us. 170,000 barrels does not even make a dent in the oil supply

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acnydirect March 24 2014 at 7:17 PM

Wait a sec.....WTF am I paying for their Fup?

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Bubba March 25 2014 at 3:05 AM

If you don't believe that the numerous excuses that Obama and his curent administration use to keep prices of oil products high are not part of their overall game plan to make-over this country into a third-rate power, then you are very, very wrong. This accident is one that would be a very minor blip is Obama would approve the oil and jobs that come with Keystone XL, or would approve the many licenses that reamin pending. The U.S. could produce much more oil and gas that would off-set dictatorships that hold the world hostage, if Obama would provide Leadership. However, that doesn't fit his efforts to turn us into a more managable nation, one-among-many, who is not thrust in leadership roles. Situations like the Russians holding Europe hostage to their oil production are a result of these policies. Obama's presidency will go down as one of the very worst in our history.

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jernst721 March 24 2014 at 7:02 PM

so why does Obama and the oil industry insist on building a pipeline from the Dakotas to Houston, when an oil spill shuts down the entire shipping industry ? Wouldn't it make more sense to build a refinery somewhere closer to the oil fields, and make the industry a little more diversified. What happens when a hurricane hits Houston ? Just another excuse to jack up the prices, when better management is needed.

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whiteoak March 24 2014 at 6:57 PM

guess we the customer has to PAY for someones carelessness....OIL CO's cant lose their high profit margin

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David March 24 2014 at 6:51 PM

Gas prices at $3.50 are ridiculous and for them to rise b/c of this little oil spill is BS. We are producing more oil now then ever and our gas prices should no longer and are no longer related to OPEC. However, they are keeping OPEN pricing just so they can continue to goiuge the american people and Obama coud stop this at any moment he wanted. However, he is the first President to say he cant do anything but EVERY other President before was expected to do something and has, but then again thats the way his whole Presidency has been, one BIG FAILURE.

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