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Oil rises above $99 a barrel after US, EU expand sanctions against Russia

The price of oil rose above US$99 a barrel Friday as the United States and the European Union expanded sanctions against Russia and warned of possible penalties against its energy industry.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery rose 56 cents at settle at US$99.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The day before, it had dropped 27 cents.

Sanctions in response to Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine grew to include a bank and 20 individuals considered close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Individuals included his chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, and Gennady Timchenko, a businessman with interests in the energy sector.

"We need to add a risk premium to oil prices as U.S. sanctions start to get closer to Russian oil and gas," said Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix in Switzerland.

Oil prices were held in check by data showing U.S. crude supplies rose by nearly six million barrels for the week ended March 14. Oil production continues to rise, but refineries are converting less of it to gasoline and diesel fuel because they're undergoing seasonal maintenance work.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, rose 47 cents to settle at US$106.92 a barrel in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York, wholesale gasoline added 1.2 cents to US$2.91 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil edged up 0.1 of a cent to US$2.92 a gallon and natural gas fell 5.6 cents to US$4.31 per 1,000 cubic feet.


The Canadian Press

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