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Oil prices bolstered by severe US cold snap

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--The price of oil rose Tuesday, with unusually cold weather in the U.S. expected to fuel demand.

Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery was up 27 cents to US$93.70 a barrel at mid-afternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 53 cents to settle at US$93.43 a barrel on Monday.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, rose 66 cents to US$107.39 in London.

Crude prices were bolstered by the cold wave in the U.S., the world's top oil consumer, as consumption of heating oil is expected to surge.

Dangerously cold polar air snapped decades-old records, spreading Tuesday from the Midwest to southern and eastern parts of the U.S. and eastern Canada. Many cities came to a virtual standstill, with flights cancelled and schools and businesses shuttered due to the severe cold.

Forecasters said some 187 million people in all could feel the effects of the “polar vortex” by the time it spreads across the country.

In other energy futures trading:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 1.5 cents to US$2.661 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 3.3 cents to US$4.339 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was up 1.7 cent to US$2.956 a gallon.

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