Oil hovers above $108 as US action on Syria looms

Oil hovers above $108 as President Obama gets support for punitive Syria action

Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) -- The price of oil stayed above $108 a barrel on Wednesday after President Barack Obama secured the support of key U.S. politicians for a retaliatory strike against Syria.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 30 cents to $108.24 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil rose above $108 a barrel Tuesday as Obama won the support of key Republicans for military action against Syria.

The contract gained 89 cents, or 0.8 percent, to close at $108.54 on the Nymex.

The U.S. says it has proof that the regime of President Bashar Assad was behind attacks that Washington claims killed at least 1,429 people, including more than 400 children. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collects information from a network of anti-regime activists, says it has so far only been able to confirm 502 dead.

Obama said Tuesday that he's confident Congress will authorize a military strike. Congress could vote as early as next week, after it returns from summer break. Obama won the support of two key U.S. lawmakers, although Congress remains divided about giving the U.S. president authorization to use force.

While Syria is not a major oil producer, the possibility of a wider conflict could interrupt production and shipping routes in the region, said Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Energy Companies.

Syria, he said, is a "small, delicate pin in the world's major oil grenade and it could blow up in the world's face if the US is not very careful."

Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, rose 8 cents to $115.76 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline dropped 0.8 cent to $2.857 per gallon.

— Heating oil fell 1 cent to $3.139 per gallon.

— Natural gas climbed 1.6 cents to $3.682 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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