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Oil hovers near $107 as tensions over Syria ease

Pamela Sampson, AP Business Writer

BANGKOK (AP) -- Oil prices fell Tuesday as President Barack Obama's struggle to win support for U.S. military intervention in Syria diminished expectations of an attack.

Benchmark crude for October delivery was down 56 cents to $107.09 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.15 to close at $107.65 on Friday.

Obama on Monday met with key U.S. lawmakers to try to drum up support for military strikes against the regime of President Bashar Assad to respond to an attack in the Damascus suburbs last month that the U.S. says killed at least 1,429 civilians. A vote could come once Congress returns from its summer break, which is scheduled to end Sept. 9.

While Syria is not a major oil producer, it straddles a region that is. The possibility of a wider conflict, one that could interrupt production and shipping routes in the region, has pushed oil prices higher in recent days. Conversely, prices have slid as the prospect of a U.S. attack diminished.

Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, rose 93 cents to $114.94 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was down 0.7 cents to $2.883 per gallon.

— Heating oil rose 1.7 cents at $3.154 per gallon.

— Natural gas rose 8.5 cents to $3.666 per 1,000 cubic feet.