The price of U.S. oil fell below $106 per barrel Wednesday for the first time in a week on higher than expected supplies, though global crude rose to a 9-month high as violence in Iraq continued.
Benchmark U.S. crude for July delivery fell 39 cents to close at $105.97 in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark used to price international oil used by many U.S. refiners, rose 81 cents to close at $114.26 a barrel in London, its highest level since September.
Brent's increase was fueled by an attack by insurgents on Iraq's largest oil refinery. The refinery makes fuel for local consumption and none of the violence has threatened crude oil production or exports. But the upheaval is casting a shadow over future crude supplies from the country, which has been rebuilding its energy infrastructure.
U.S. crude declined after the Energy Department reported that supplies dropped far less than expected last week. Supplies fell by 600,000 barrels, the Energy Department said, while analysts expected a decline of 1.4 million barrels, according to Platts, the energy information division of McGraw-Hill.
In other energy futures trading: — Wholesale gasoline rose 0.7 cent to close at $3.098 a gallon. — Natural gas fell 5 cents to close at $4.659 per 1,000 cubic feet. — Heating oil rose 2.2 cents to close at $3.040 a gallon.