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Oil Prices Rise to Near $59 a Barrel | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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SINGAPORE, (AP) -Oil prices rose Tuesday on news of a weekend fire that caused the shutdown of a U.S. refinery and the kidnapping of three Eastern European oil workers in Nigeria’s troubled southern region.

The March contract for light, sweet crude, which was to expire later Tuesday, gained 19 cents to $58.72 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange mid-afternoon in Singapore.

Floor trading on the Nymex was closed Monday for the Presidents’ Day holiday in the United States, but electronic trading continued. There was no price settlement Monday.

On London’s ICE futures exchange, April Brent crude oil futures advanced 31 cents to $58.45 a barrel.

Valero Energy Corp. said Monday it is hopeful that a partial schedule for a restart of its McKee refinery in Sunray, Texas, would be available Tuesday.

The company did not yet have enough information to set a credible date for the resumption of the 158,000-barrel-a-day refinery, shut down due to a weekend fire, spokeswoman Mary Rose Brown said.

Analysts said the fire had the potential to support crude futures.

“It’s significant in that it’s another refinery among many in the past two weeks that have had fires or glitches,” said Tom Bentz, an analyst and broker at BNP Paribas in New York. “The impact it has will depend on how long the refinery is down.”

Nigerian police said Monday that gunmen had seized two Croatians and a Montenegrin who worked on oil platforms through a Croatian maritime company late Sunday in the southern oil region’s main city of Port Harcourt.

Heating oil futures on Tuesday rose 0.48 cent to $1.6584 a gallon while natural gas prices dropped 1.7 cents to $7.503 per 1,000 cubic feet.