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Oil slips to US$104 per barrel as US crude supplies seen increasing

The price of oil slipped closer to US$104 a barrel Monday as investors weighed expectations of rising U.S. crude stockpiles against tensions in Ukraine.

By early afternoon in Europe, U.S. crude for May delivery was down 42 cents to US$103.95 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the Nymex contract added 7 cents to close at US$104.37.

Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, was down 49 cents to US$109.46 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

U.S. crude supplies are seen having grown by 3.1 million barrels in the week ending April 18, with gasoline stocks falling by 1.7 million barrels, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

The American Petroleum Institute will release its report on oil stocks later Tuesday, while the report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration — the market benchmark — will be out on Wednesday.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline lost 1.13 cents to US$3.0336 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 0.9 cent to US$4.706 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 0.66 cent to US$2.9976 a gallon.

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