Vienna — Crude oil vaulted above US$65 a barrel Friday after the U.S. Department of Energy said energy costs in the United States for the upcoming winter
would be the highest in 10 years, AP reported .
Oil futures rose for a second day as more damage reports from Hurricane Katrina filtered in, with U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman saying at least four refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast would remain off-line for months.
European Union finance ministers were meeting Friday, with ways of dealing with soaring oil prices one of their main concerns. In Seoul, their counterparts in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum said high oil prices are a risk to economic growth and called for more investment in oil production and renewable energy sources.
The International Energy Agency lowered its projected growth in oil demand this year and next _ but only in part due to Katrina, saying high prices were choking demand even before the storm hit. The Paris-based agency said daily
world oil demand would grow by 1.35 million barrels to 83.48 million barrels _ 250,000 barrels less than its previous forecast.
Light sweet crude for October on the New York Mercantile Exchange was trading at US$65.17, up 68 cents, by afternoon in Europe.
On London”s International Petroleum Exchange, October Brent futures gained 71 cents to US$63.79 a barrel. Nymex crude is more than US$5 off its all-time peak of
US$70.85 a barrel hit Aug. 30, but is still almost 50 percent higher than a year ago.
Gasoline rose by nearly a cent to US$2.0430 a gallon (3.8 liters). Heating oil moved up by nearly two cents to US$1.9390 a gallon, while natural gas rose nearly 6 cents
to US$11.355 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Vienna”s PVM Oil Associates forecast continuing demand for heating oil _ in part as a substitute for natural gas caused by Katrina”s destruction.
«A high portion of natural gas production has not fully returned to normal levels, leading prices for natural gas relatively high, » said PVM”s Energy Market Report, adding that _ comparatively _ «fuel-oil rich (crude) grades supplies by OPEC countries are rather cheap at the moment. »
The U.S. Energy Department said Thursday that crude oil inventories fell 6.4 million barrels in the week ending Sept. 2. At 315 million barrels, crude inventories are still 13 percent above year-ago levels.