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Oil Rises Above $103 Ahead of Iran Nuclear Talks

13th April 2012


Oil prices tracked a rising U.S. stock market and settled near $104 a barrel Thursday, while traders turned their attention to negotiations this weekend over Iran's nuclear program.

Benchmark oil for May delivery gained 94 cents to finish at $103.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It hit an intraday high of $104.24.

In London, Brent crude rose $1.65 to settle at $121.52 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Crude has jumped from $75 in October as investors worried a military attack by Israel or the U.S. on Iran's nuclear facilities could disrupt global crude supplies. However, oil has slid from $110 last month amid optimism meetings between Iran and the U.S., France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany that begin Saturday in Turkey could ease tensions.

"If negotiations were to succeed and some acceptable compromise achieved, the energy markets would breathe a collective sigh of relief and prices would decline," said Richard Soultanian of NUS Consulting. He estimated concern that Iran's crude exports will be cut by a military conflict or tighter sanctions has added about $15 to the price of oil.

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