Oil prices climb on US Gulf Coast refinery disruption

NEW YORK, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – World oil prices rose on Tuesday, supported by refinery disruption and strong energy demand in the United States and China, as well as jitters over Iran, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, climbed 12 cents to close at 71.92 dollars per barrel.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for August delivery rose 25 cents to 70.98 dollars per barrel.

"The Calcasieu shipping channel in the (US) Gulf Coast remains closed as oil spill clean-up operations continue, providing support to the oil complex, particularly to gasoline prices," Barclays Capital analyst Kevin Norrish said.

The US Coast Guard has said only limited tug and barge traffic has resumed through the Calcasieu Ship Channel, which had been off limits due to the spread of oil from a spill last week at the Citgo Petroleum Corp facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

"All the refineries in the immediate Lake Charles area have reported reductions to their crude runs since the accident occurred," Norrish said.

He added that the disruption "illustrates the endemic vulnerability of the capacity constrained US refinery system to even relatively minor production problems."