Oil continues rise on US heating fuel demand

Crude oil rose for the second day in New York due to speculation that late-winter in the U.S. Northeast will increase heating fuel use. Temperatures in the Northeast, which accounts for 80 per cent of US heating oil use, may be below normal through 18 February, the National Weather Service said 4 February.
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Crude oil for March delivery rose as much as 34 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $59.36 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $59.12 at 10:36 a.m. in Tokyo.

The contract rose $1.72, or 3 per cent, to $59.02 on Feb. 2, the highest close since 29 December. Prices surged about $1.30 a barrel in the last 45 minutes of trading after prices reached $58 a barrel and BP Plc and Tesoro Corp. reported leaks at refineries in Texas and California respectively.

In London, Brent crude oil for March settlement was at $58.55 a barrel, up 14 cents, in electronic trading on the ICE Futures exchange at 8:21 a.m. Singapore time.

Oil prices have gained 14 percent the past two weeks as temperatures dropped.

An unusually mild December in the Northeast slashed heating fuel demand, increased stockpiles and helped push oil prices to a 20-month low of $49.90 on Jan. 18.