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Oil slips to near US$103 per barrel as fears abate over supply disruption

The price of oil slipped to near US$103 a barrel Tuesday as concerns about possible supply disruptions continued to fade.

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was down 12 cents to US$103.41 a barrel at 0450 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 53 cents to US$103.53 on Monday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 26 cents to US$109.98 in London.

The benchmark oil price has gradually eased since it hit a 10-month closing high of US$107.26 on June 20, reflecting worries that insurgents in Iraq might push into important oil-producing regions and choke off supplies from OPEC's second-biggest exporter. The Iraqi government's progress in regaining some control since then has assuaged those fears, and oil prices have dropped.

U.S. crude production, meanwhile, is at its highest in about two decades.

An agreement in Libya between the central government and a regional militia is expected to allow the reopening of two oil terminals, boosting the country's crude exports by about 500,000 barrels a day from 350,000 barrels now.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline edged down 0.8 cents to US$2.981 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 0.9 cent to US$4.216 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 1 cent to US$2.905 a gallon.

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