NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil advanced past $99 a barrel for just the second time this year as traders anticipate a sharp drop in U. S. supplies and watch developments in Egypt.
In Tuesday morning trading in New York, benchmark crude for August delivery was up 90 cents to $98.89 after rising as high as $99.17. The only other time oil rose above $99 this year was June 19, when it reached $99.21.
Protests in Egypt continued, as President Mohammed Morsi faced a military ultimatum that gives him until Wednesday to meet the demands of the millions who have taken to the streets seeking his ouster. Traders were concerned that the situation in Egypt, as well as and the civil war in Syria, could affect the production and transport of oil supplies in the Middle East and North Africa.
Traders are also awaiting the Energy Department's weekly report on U. S. stockpiles of crude oil on Wednesday. Data for the week ending June 28 is expected to show a draw of 3 million barrels in crude oil stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
That would be the first decline in four weeks, and the forecast is supporting oil prices.
At the pump the average price of a gallon of gas dropped another penny to $3.48, the lowest level since early February.
In London, Brent crude was up 51 cents at $103.51 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Natural gas gained 6 cents to $3.64 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Heating oil added 1 cent to $2.89 per gallon.
— Wholesale gasoline rose 4 cents to $2.77 per gallon.
Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.