WASHINGTON -- Crude oil futures rose yesterday on the heels of a rally in gasoline that brokers attributed to a shipping snag along the US Gulf Coast that was having some impact on refinery operations.
The Coast Guard said Sunday that only limited tug and barge traffic had resumed through the Calcasieu Ship Channel, which had been off limits due to the spread of oil from a spill last week at the Citgo Petroleum Corp. facility in Lake Charles, La.
``The longer this thing stays backed up, the more likely those refineries are going to have to cut back," said Tom Bentz, a broker for BNP Paribas Commodity Futures in New York.
It was reported last week that Citgo and ConocoPhillips, which combined refine close to 700,000 barrels a day, had experienced some minor impact on their operations from delays in crude oil shipments. The companies did not immediately return calls yesterday.
Light sweet crude for August delivery climbed 93 cents to settle at $71.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, where gasoline futures were up more than 5 cents to finish at $2.1788 per gallon.
In London, Brent crude futures on the ICE Futures exchange climbed 80 cents to close at $70.73 per barrel.
Also propping up oil prices were threats from Iran's oil minister over the weekend that his country could disrupt the world's supply if it were punished amid a standoff over its nuclear program.