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Price of crude oil rises above US$104 a barrel mark amid Ukraine tensions

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The price of oil rose Monday on the prospect of higher demand in the U.S. and escalating tensions in Ukraine.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery rose 31 cents to close at US$104.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was only the second time since September that oil has closed above $104.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties, was up $1.74 to close at US$109.07 in London. If sustained, the jump in Brent crude, which is used by many U.S. refineries to make fuels, will likely make for higher U.S. retail gasoline prices in the weeks ahead.

Ukraine's government announced Sunday it was sending in troops to try to quash a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine despite warnings from the Kremlin. Markets have been rattled by concerns that possible western sanctions against Moscow might disrupt Russian exports of oil and natural gas.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, wholesale gasoline rose 2.4 cents to close at US$3.038 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil rose 4.6 cents to close at US$2.979 a gallon and natural gas fell six cents to close at US$4.560 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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