Economy

Oil price rises on Nigeria supply woes, US growth

The price of oil rose above $102 a barrel Friday amid signs of stronger economic growth in the U.S. and possible disruptions to Nigerian crude exports.

By mid-afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was up 84 cents to $102.12 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Nymex contract gained $1.02 to $101.28 on Thursday.

Concerns are growing in energy markets about supply from Nigeria, which produces about 2.5 million barrels of oil daily, after reports of sabotage at a pipeline, where leaks have forced Shell Nigeria to halt exports from its Forcados terminal since March 4.

Meanwhile, the recovery in the U.S. economy signals greater demand ahead. The Commerce Department raised its economic growth estimate for the last quarter of 2013 to 2.6 percent from 2.4 percent, largely because of higher consumer spending.

Falling crude stockpiles in Cushing, Okla., the Nymex contract's pricing hub, also boosted prices even though the reduction was not seen as reflecting a rise in oil consumption. In fact, U.S. crude stocks overall have risen for 10 consecutive weeks, the Energy Department said Wednesday.

In other markets, Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of oil, was up 46 cents to $108.29 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Elsewhere on the Nymex: — Wholesale gasoline gained 0.76 cent at $2.947 a gallon.

— Heating oil added 1.44 cents to $2.9573 a gallon. — Natural gas advanced 0.8 cent to $4.546 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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