NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil rose nearly 2 percent Wednesday as oil started flowing through a new pipeline to the Gulf Coast and traders anticipated another decline in U.S. supplies.
Meanwhile, natural gas futures shot up almost 6 percent as temperatures in many parts of the Northeast dropped into the single digits, and strong demand tapped the region's supplies of natural gas.
Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery rose $1.76, or 1.9 percent, to close at $96.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil last closed above $96 a barrel on Dec. 31.
Oil prices were boosted by the opening of the southern leg of the Keystone pipeline, which is expected to eventually bring 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day to the Gulf Coast. With demand expected to rise, the price of the oil rose closer to that of more-expensive imports.
Investors will also be monitoring fresh information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products.
Data for the week ending Jan. 17 is expected to show a decline of 1.9 million barrels in crude oil stocks and an increase of 1.7 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
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