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Oil Prices Up Ahead of OPEC Meeting

June 3, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ Energy prices gained on Monday in quiet trading ahead of an OPEC ministers’ meeting Wednesday in Vienna.

Oil rose even though traders believe OPEC ministers will not agree to cut production after Iraq begins releasing 700,000 barrels of crude a day into oil markets. The United Nations agreed last month to allow Iraq to resume oil sales on a limited basis, to raise money for humanitarian needs.

On Monday, July light, sweet crude rose 9 cents to $19.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Crude prices had been slipping in anticipation that Iraq’s sales would add to supply enough to depress prices. But Jerry Samuels, managing director of ARB Oil Inc. in Los Angeles, said that on Monday, consensus was that Iraq’s extra production will not affect prices for several months, if at all.

``Demand (for energy) has been steady, particularly Far East demand,″ supporting prices and production, Samuels said. In addition, it will take Iraq some time to re-enter the oil market, Samuels noted

The rest of the energy markets were quiet.

Home heating oil set for July delivery rose .18 cent to 51.25 a gallon, and unleaded gasoline rose .21 cent to 58.99 cents a gallon.

Natural gas prices were unchanged, with the July contract settling at $2.41 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, North Sea Brent Blend crude oil for delivery in July settled at $17.92 per barrel, up 12 cents, at the International Petroleum Exchange.

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