PERTH, June 19- U.S. oil prices were steady below $99 on Wednesday as investors waited for the U.S. *NYMEX crude futures for July delivery had risen 6 cents to $98.50 a barrel by 0053 GMT, after climbing to a nine-month high of $98.74 a barrel on Monday. *Brent crude rose 6 cents to $106.08 a barrel.» Read More
CNBC's Melissa Lee and the Fast Money traders discuss the day's top trades and the stocks they'll be watching tomorrow.
CNBC's Sharon Epperson discusses the day's activity in the commodities markets. Oil extended its run today, while metals took it on the chin. Traders are watching Bernanke for indications that he'll taper sooner rather than later.
*Iraq says will bolster crude output. NEW YORK, June 18- Oil prices ended slightly higher on Tuesday in sluggish trading as the market awaited the Federal Reserve's policy statement on O/RWednesday that is expected to show whether it will reduce its monetary stimulus.
*New limit C $1 bln, up from C $30- 40 mln. CALGARY, Alberta, June 18- The Canadian government said on Tuesday it will raise the liability for oil spill cleanups off the country's east and Arctic coasts to C $1 billion, a more than twenty-five fold increase from its prior limit.
*Russian supplies to northern Europe fall most because of China. MOSCOW, June 18- Russia is steeply ramping up oil deliveries to China, with Asia now importing almost a fifth of oil exports from the world's largest crude producer in a strategic shift meant by the Kremlin to end reliance on weak and saturated European markets.
LONDON, June 18- Iraq aims to ramp up oil production by nearly 45 percent by the end of next year- without any input from its autonomous Kurdistan region- which suggests a lasting compromise in their long-running oil feud may be a way off.
U.S. energy independence is seen almost as a holy grail, and soaring shale production has heightened hopes that the country may actually get there. But not everyone's so sure.
*Florida gas prices up, in line with other regions. June 18- A major natural gas pipeline exploded on Tuesday in Washington Parish, Louisiana, destroying a mobile home and causing an evacuation of the area but no injuries were reported, local officials said.
*Market keeps an eye on standoff in Syria, fears growing conflict. NEW YORK, June 18- Oil prices were moderately higher on Tuesday after paring earlier gains made on positive U.S. economic data. Global financial markets have been on edge since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested the central bank would be looking to pull back its stimulus program.
Pioneer Natural Resources surged after Bank of America Merrill Lynch added the oil and gas exploration company to its "best ideas" list.
NEW YORK-- Newfield Exploration's stock rose Tuesday as an analyst raised the oil and natural gas company's rating, citing an international asset sale and potential growth in core areas. THE SPARK: Amir Arif of Stifel Nicolaus lifted Newfield Exploration Co. to "Buy" from "Hold" and established a $29 price target.
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HONOLULU-- Tesoro Corp. said Monday it has agreed to sell its refining operations in Hawaii to Par Petroleum Corp. for $75 million plus the market value of its working capital. The deal expected to close in the third quarter comes after Tesoro told Hawaii state officials in May that it would lay off 165 workers at the Kapolei refinery.
*Market keeps an eye on standoff over Syria. LONDON, June 18- Oil rose above $106 a barrel on Tuesday after data pointing towards a strengthening U.S. economy eased some concerns ahead of the Federal Reserve's meeting on its stimulus plan.
BEIJING, June 18- China launched its first pilot carbon emissions exchange on Tuesday, though plans for a nationwide roll out and efforts to apply the scheme to some polluting heavy industries could be undermined by a slowdown in the world's No.2 economy.
*BP controlling wells at Valhall offshore field from land. *Norway is testing ground for new method. Unions say the move endangers safety, a top focus of regulators and the industry since BP's Macondo accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, which killed 11 people and resulted in a massive oil spill.
*Market keeps an eye on standoff over Syria. At 0446 GMT, Brent was up 5 cents at $105.52 a barrel. U.S. oil added 5 cents to $97.82 after hitting a nine-month high near $99 a barrel in the previous session.
WASHINGTON, June 18- U.S. companies hoping to export natural gas are frustrated by lengthy delays and rule changes as they await U.S. Department of Energy approval of their applications and may turn to the courts to speed up the process.
--Clyde Russell is a Reuters market analyst. Indonesia has joined China, the region's biggest oil consumer, and India, the third-largest, in moving toward market-based pricing for transport fuels.
*NYMEX crude futures for July delivery had added 21 cents to $97.98 a barrel by 0030 GMT. *Production at Norway's Oseberg field and several adjunct fields in the North Sea was shut early on Monday and it was unclear when it would restart, its operator Statoil said on Monday.