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Oil Prices Lower, Natural Gas Rises

June 30, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Oil prices retreated Friday as traders evened up their holdings in advance of the long July 4 holiday weekend in the United States and as producers prepared to begin pumping more crude.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery fell 22 cents to close at $32.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. August Brent crude from the North Sea fell 23 cents to close at $30.57 on the International Petroleum Exchange in London.

Starting Saturday, major oil exporters are stepping up production following OPEC’s agreement last week to make modest increases in output to keep prices from going so high it would significantly reduce consumption.

Norway, which is not a member of OPEC, announced Thursday it would end voluntary oil production curbs Saturday.

In other petroleum trading on the Nymex, heating oil for July delivery fell 0.33 cent to 84.14 cents a gallon and July gasoline fell 1.27 cents to $1.0378. But natural gas rose, with contracts for August delivery up 5.3 cents at $4.476 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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