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Oil slips as Ukraine jitters ease

Oil prices declined further Thursday but stayed above US$101 per barrel as concern about Ukraine eased and U.S. supplies rose.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery was down 13 cents at US$101.32 per barrel at 1040 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, oil plunged US$1.88, or 1.8 percent, to close at US$101.45.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, was up 21 cents to US$107.97 per barrel on the ICE exchange in London. It dropped US$1.54 a day earlier to US$107.76 a barrel.

Market jitters eased even as leaders of the 28-nation European Union met in Brussels to decide on whether to impose sanctions against Russia over its military incursion into Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. Oil prices surged earlier on fears sanctions against Russian exports might disrupt supplies.

In the U.S., the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said supplies of oil rose by 1.4 million barrels last week. Also, demand for gasoline and distillate fuels, which include diesel and heating oil, fell over the past four weeks compared with a year ago, the agency said.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline was up 0.5 cent at US$2.945 per gallon.

— Heating oil fell 0.8 cent to US$2.984 per gallon.

— Natural gas gained 7 cents to US$4.595 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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