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Crude oil edges above $100 a barrel after industry data shows decline in US supplies

An oil pump works in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain, Aug. 22, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Hasan Jamali

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An oil pump works in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain, Aug. 22, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Hasan Jamali

The price of oil rose above $100 a barrel on Wednesday, buoyed by industry data showing a decline in U.S. supplies and the continuing conflict in Ukraine.

By early afternoon in Europe, the benchmark U.S. crude contract for June delivery was up 60 cents to $100.10 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, the contract rose 2 cents.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international varieties of oil, was up 21 cents to $107.27 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Information from the American Petroleum Institute released late Tuesday showed a decline of 1.8 million barrels in U.S. crude stocks for last week, which might reflect increased demand.

Traders are now looking to the benchmark Energy Department figures on U.S. crude stockpiles, due later Wednesday, to confirm or debunk the API data.

The data for the week ending May 2 is expected to show an increase of 1.3 million barrels in crude oil stocks and a draw of 900,000 barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Tension between Russia, a major oil and gas exporter, and Western nations over the fate of Ukraine's restive eastern regions has kept upward pressure on energy prices in recent weeks. The U.S. and European nations have increased diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions ahead of Ukraine's May 25 presidential elections.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline dropped 1.08 cents to $2.875 a gallon.

— Heating oil added 0.61 cent to $2.8938 a gallon

— Natural gas slipped 0.8 cent to $4.791 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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