Home Economy Oil closes near $99 as Turkish troops move into Iraq

Oil closes near $99 as Turkish troops move into Iraq

By Xinhua

New York : Crude-oil futures gained modestly Friday on supply concerns raised by Turkish incursions to Iraq, holder of the world’s third-largest crude reserves.

Crude for April delivery gained 58 cents, or 0.6 percent, to close at 98.81 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Crude was trading between the intraday range of 100.01 dollars and 97.16 dollars in the volatile session.

Turkey’s military said Friday that it had sent troops into northern Iraq on Thursday night, in a “limited” operation to weaken Kurdish militants there.

The incursion raised worries that military strikes could damage northern Iraq’s 600-mile crude pipeline, which carries about 500,000 barrels a day of crude from Iraq’s northern fields to Turkey’s port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea.

Supporting Friday’s trading was cold weather in the U.S. Northeast.

“The heating oil market has been supportive,” said Eric Wittenauer, analyst at AG Edwards in St. Louis.

Concerns about the economic health of the United States have helped temper gains in recent weeks, as gasoline demand in the top consuming country has shown signs of weakening under the pressure of the mortgage crisis and the credit crunch.

U.S. inventories have swelled, with crude stockpiles up 4.2 million barrels last week while gasoline inventories hit 14-year highs.

For the week, crude gained more than 3 dollars and closed above100 dollars twice.