Oil settled back above $69 a barrel and gasoline futures also rose Friday on concerns about Iran's nuclear capabilities and on news that talks to end a general strike in Nigeria had failed.
The market has been fixated on U.S. domestic supply concerns, but a lack of news from the U.S. shifted traders' focus to international developments. The news about Iran and Nigera sent light, sweet crude for August delivery up 49 cents to settle at $69.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and gasoline for July up 4.01 cents to settle at $2.2868 a gallon.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures for July rose 1.33 cents to settle at $2.038 a gallon while natural gas prices fell 21.8 cents to $7.13 per 1,000 cubic feet. A government report Thursday showed natural gas supplies rose by 89 billion cubic feet in the week ended June 15, in line with expectations.
At the pump, gas prices, which tend to lag the futures market, continued to fall, dipping half a cent overnight to a national average of $2.991 per gallon. Retail gas prices peaked at $3.227 in late May.