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Brent under $114 as Iraq supply worries ease

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The price of Brent crude dipped under US$114 Thursday as fears diminished somewhat over supply disruptions from Iraq while U.S. oil extended gains on looser U.S. export controls.

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery rose 25 cents per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 47 cents to settle at $106.50 on Wednesday. Brent, used to price international oils, eased 7 cents to $113.93 a barrel in London.

U.S. crude is rising after the Obama Administration opened the door to more oil exports by permitting some light oils to be defined as petroleum products like gasoline or diesel, which aren't subject to export restrictions. Analysts said the changes could add up to 1.1 million barrels of potential exports.

Brent crude edged lower from nine-month highs reached earlier this week. While concerns linger about violence in Iraq affecting global crude supplies, oil production and exports from the giant fields clustered in the country's south remain unaffected. July exports are expected to average about 2.57 million barrels per day, Platts forecasts.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline barely budged $3.07 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 2.3 cents to $4.58 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil fell 0.1 cent to $3.037 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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