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Oil vaults on refinery shutdown, US oil settles above $106

Reuters with CNBC.com
Friday, 23 Aug 2013 | 2:39 PM ET
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Oil prices rose on Friday, led by gasoline futures following news of a major unit shutdown at an eastern Canadian refinery.

While the trading volume of the Brent crude contract was higher, gains on the U.S. West Texas Intermediate contract outpaced the international benchmark. Brent's premium to WTI narrowed to $4.30 a barrel after a $3 per barrel spike earlier this week that sent the spread to $6 for the first time since late June.

Brent and U.S. crude found early support from positive U.S. manufacturing data and disruptions to Libyan exports. A short flurry in activity saw volume spike and crude prices jump 80 cents in the space of minutes.

Gasoline prices shot up after energy intelligence provider Genscape reported the shutdown of a 70,000 barrel per day (bpd) fluid catalytic cracking unit at Irving Oil's 300,000 bpd St. John refinery in New Brunswick, Canada. The unit will be down for about a week, trade sources said.

Despite data showing new U.S. home sales plummeted by 13 percent in July, U.S. crude shook off early weakness to rally by $1.39, settling at $106.42.

Brent crude for October stretched to session highs above $111, up more than $1 on the day.

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—By Reuters with CNBC.com.