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Brent falls after OPEC says Iraq's production remains normal

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The price of Brent crude fell Wednesday, retreating from record highs after OPEC assured that Iraq's production remained normal despite violence while U.S. crude rose after a report said export controls would be loosened.

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery rose 28 cents to US$106.28 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 14 cents to settle at $106.03 on Tuesday. Brent, used to price international oils, dropped 65 cents to $113.80 a barrel in London.

U.S. benchmark crude futures rose after The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government was loosening a longstanding ban by letting two companies sell American oil internationally. The newspaper said the Obama administration would allow foreign buyers to purchase a type of ultralight oil known as condensate, which can be turned into gasoline, jet fuel and diesel.

International crude fell further from a nine-month high reached earlier this week after the head of OPEC , the group of major oil exporters, said that Iraq's production was normal, with 95 per cent of capacity in the south unaffected by the violence, which has been concentrated in the country's north.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $3.08 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 0.8 cent to $4.53 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 1.1 cent to $3.04 a gallon.

(TSX:ECA, TSX:IMO, TSX:SU, TSX:HSE, NYSE:BP, NYSE:COP, NYSE:XOM, NYSE:CVX, TSX:CNQ, TSX:TLM, TSX:COS.UN, TSX:CVE)

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