Oil spill fuels higher prices
The price of oil edged higher Monday as traders waited to see how long a key transit route in the Gulf would be closed following an oil spill there.
Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery rose 14 cents to close at $99.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, slipped 11 cents to $106.81 a barrel.
On Saturday, a barge carrying about 900,000 gallons of heavy oil collided with a ship in the Houston Ship Channel, spilling as much as 168,000 gallons. More than 80 ships have been forced to wait to enter or leave the bay.
Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates, said the oil prices could rise if the waterway isn’t open by the end of the week. Soft Chinese economic data kept a lid on prices Monday.