NYMEX-U.S. oil hits 18-month high as West mulls strike on Syria
SINGAPORE, Aug 28 (Reuters) - U.S. crude hit an 18-month high on Wednesday, rising toward $110 a barrel, as the prospect of a military strike on Syria raised fears that Western intervention could further destabilize the Middle East, which pumps a third of the world's oil.
* U.S. crude hit a high of $109.86 a barrel, the highest since March 1, 2012. The contract for October delivery was up 70 cents at $109.71 by 0011 GMT, after a near 3 percent gain on Tuesday, the biggest daily jump since May.
* Brent crude for October was at $115.05, up 69 cents, after briefly touching a 6-month high at $115.44. On Tuesday, front-month prices posted the biggest daily gain since October 2012.
* The United States and its allies were gearing up on Tuesday for a probable military strike against Syria that could happen within days as punishment for last week's chemical weapons attacks blamed on President Bashar al-Assad's government.
* Libya's largest western oilfields closed when an armed group shut down the pipeline linking them to ports, its deputy oil minister said on Tuesday, reducing its oil output to a trickle.
* Iraq has offered investors more lucrative terms to tap a large oilfield and build a refinery, while blaming Royal Dutch Shell for underproducing billions of dollars' worth of crude.
* U.S. crude stocks rose last week while gasoline inventories declined and distillate stocks increased, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed.
* The safe-haven yen held at one-week highs against the dollar and euro early in Asia on Wednesday, having posted its biggest rally in over two months as investors scrambled for safety amid heightened geopolitical tensions.
* The following data is expected on Wednesday:
- 0800 GMT EZ Money-M3 3m moving av Jul
- 1430 GMT U.S. EIA weekly crude stocks Weekly
- 1430 GMT U.S. EIA weekly dist. stocks Weekly
- 1430 GMT U.S. EIA weekly gasoline stk Weekly
(Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Richard Pullin)