Oil continues to advance on supply concerns

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Oil continues to advance on supply concerns
Reuters Published: February 19, 2008, 00:35

London: Oil advanced for a fourth day on Monday, supported by an escalating row between Opec member Venezuela and oil major ExxonMobil.

The quarrel between Venezuela and Exxon has helped oil bounce back from this year’s low of $86.11, but worries about a slowdown in top oil consumer the United States could prevent a return to record highs of $100 a barrel struck in early January.

US crude was up 80 cents at $96.30 a barrel by 1515 GMT. On Friday it had closed four cents higher at $95.50, after touching a one-month high of $96.67.

London Brent crude was up 70 cents at $95.33.

“Oil prices are remaining at firm levels, buttressed by perceived supply side risks,” David Moore, a resource analyst at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said in a research note. There is also evidence of investors moving back into oil, which could point to further price strength.

Speculators on the New York Mercantile Exchange, for example, increased net long positions last week, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Net crude long positions increased to 39,922 in the week ending February 12, up from to 27,448 in the previous week.

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