Brent crude oil rose past $114 a barrel on Wednesday on worries about exports from Iraq, while U.S. crude dipped as government numbers showed a much smaller draw in domestic stocks than an industry report showed a day earlier.
Sunni militants opposing Baghdad's Shi'ite government battled their way into the refinery of Baiji north of the capital. Some reports said rebels controlled up to three quarters of the refinery.
Brent crude rose 70 cents to over $114 a barrel. U.S. crude, however, fell 39 cents to settle at $105.91 a barrel after U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed a much smaller draw in domestic inventories than the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, had reported on Tuesday.
Last week, both crude benchmarks rose more than 4 percent on worries about disruptions to Iraq's oil supply. The crisis deepened on Wednesday as militants renewed their attack on the Baiji refinery, the biggest source of fuel for domestic consumption in Iraq.
Oil companies have pulled foreign staff out of Iraq, fearing violence could spread to major oilfields in the south. Iraqi officials have said refineries in the southern regions are safe.
U.S. crude prices dipped after the EIA reported crude stocks declined less than expected to 386.5 million barrels in the week ending June 13. The EIA said crude inventories fell by 579,000 barrels, much less than the drawdown of 5.7 million barrels reported by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday. EIA also reported that crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 247,000 barrels.
--By Reuters. For more information on commodities, please click here.