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Oil stays above US$104 per barrel due to crises in Ukraine and Libya

Oil stayed above US$104 per barrel Wednesday as traders watched to see how conflicts in Ukraine and Libya will affect supplies.

Benchmark crude for July delivery was up 11 cents to US$104.22 per barrel at 0800 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 24 cents to close Tuesday at US$104.11

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, added 29 cents to US$110.31 on the ICE exchange in London.

Markets are uneasy about the conflict in Ukraine, a key conduit for Russian gas to reach Europe. Russia's acceptance of the result of Sunday's presidential election was seen as a sign of easing tensions but more fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in the east made clear the situation still is uncertain.

In Libya, which has been unable to stabilize since the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, the National Oil Corp. said crude exports stood at 160,000 barrels a day, down from 1.4 million barrels a day a year ago. Several key export facilities are controlled by militias who do not recognize the central government.

In other energy futures trading in New York.

- Wholesale gasoline shed 0.6 cent to US$2.986 per gallon.

- Natural gas fell 2 cents to US$4.485 per 1,000 cubic feet.

- Heating oil added 0.8 cent to US$2.945 a gallon.

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