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Oil Prices Pop on Lower Stockpile Expectations

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S.-pegged oil prices were popping Tuesday on expectations of reduced inventories.

West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude oil for October delivery was adding $1.25 to $89.44 a barrel, but the global benchmark Brent crude oil for December delivery was 20 cents lower to $108.81.

Weekly oil data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the American Petroleum Institute are expected to show a decline of about 2.9 million barrels in U.S. commercial crude stocks for the week ended Sept. 9, analysts polled by Platts said on Monday.

"This is the likely consequence of shut-ins in the Gulf of Mexico due to Tropical Storm Lee," said Summit Energy analyst Matt Smith.

"General markets look tentative, but WTI crude charges on," said Smith.

Brent prices were falling on European debt concerns, fuelled the possibility of a Greek default and the frail condition of Italy, the third-largest economy in the Eurozone.

Concerns about Italy deepened on reports that China in fact did not implement a plan to come to the rescue through additional buying of the Mediterranean country's € 1.6 trillion in outstanding public debt.

The dollar, meanwhile, was gaining a basket of currencies, with the dollar index up 0.2% to $77.23.

SEB analysts hold a bearish view for Brent for the day.

On Tuesday, JBC Energy analysts warned of potential market tightening if flows along the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, Iraq's largest crude oil export line, don't return soon.

Exports of Kurdish crude along the key pipeline were halted on Sunday due to disagreements over a new draft on the Iraqi federal oil and gas law.

Natural gas for October delivery was ticking 11 cents higher to $3.996 as summer ends with stockpile deficits more or less intact against last year and against the five-year average.

"But, this may be as bullish as it gets," say Cameron Hanover analysts. "It does not seem likely that the deficits will get any more pronounced as we move through autumn."

The analysts think that it won't require very large storage injections to challenge all-time storage highs by Nov. 1.

Triangle Petroleum (TPLM - Get Report) was gaining 2.6% to $5.12; Oasis Petroleum (OAS - Get Report) was up 0.3% to $24.49; Whiting Petroleum (WLL - Get Report) was up 0.4% to $43.76; Pyramid Oil (PDO) was higher by 1% to $4.15; Gastar (GST - Get Report) was falling 1% to $4.04; Southern Union (SUG) was flat at $41.79; and Chesapeake (CHK - Get Report) was rising 1.3% to $31.15.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.
Copyright 2011 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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