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Oil gains on reports U.S. may lift export ban; traders await supply data

The price of U.S. oil rose Wednesday following reports that Washington is studying whether to lift a longstanding ban on crude oil exports.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery was up 33 cents to US$102.03 a barrel at 1:50 a.m. ET on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, it jumped $1.11 to $101.70 a barrel, its highest close since April 24.

Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told reporters in Seoul, South Korea that the government was reviewing the issue of crude oil exports, given the mismatch between rising supplies of crude and the U.S. refining capacity, The Wall Street Journal reported.

On Wednesday, the Energy Department is expected to report that U.S. crude oil supplies fell last week by 1.5 million barrels, according to a survey of analysts by Platts. It would be the second weekly decline since the nation's supply of oil reached a record 399.4 million barrels as of April 25.

Brent crude was up 12 cents to $108.75 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline gained 1.2 cents to $2.927 a gallon.

— Natural gas added 0.4 cent to $4.362 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil rose 0.7 cent to $2.951 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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