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Crude Falls on Iran Deal

Natural gas also takes a dive.
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Oil prices nearly erased the previous session's rally Monday after Iran and Russia reportedly reached an agreement on uranium-enrichment for nuclear power.

April crude fell $1.81 to $61.10 a barrel on Nymex, after rising $2.37 on Friday. Monday's slide followed reports of the enrichment pact, which is designed to ease political tensions created by Iran's renascent nuclear research program. Under the agreement, Iran's enrichment will be done on Russian soil.

Concerns that Iran wanted to enrich uranium as part of a broader effort to build a bomb has occasionally been cited as one reason for oil's strength over the past two months. Iran is OPEC's second-largest crude producer.

Natural gas fell 60 cents to $6.70 per million British thermal units.

On Friday, oil surged after an attempted bombing at a major Saudi Arabian processing facility and continuing unrest in Nigeria. Three cars of suicide bombers launched an attack against a Saudi refinery, forcing their way through one of the facility's security perimeters, according to reports. Saudi security forces kept the attack from succeeding by opening fire on the vehicles.

Oil shares were uniformly lower, with the Philadelphia Oil Services Index recently losing 2.3% and the Amex Oil Index falling 0.9%.

Exxon

(XOM)

fell 0.6%;

Chevron

(CVX)

lost 0.9%;

BP

(BP)

shed 0.6%;

Valero

(VLO)

fell 1.6%; and

Halliburton

(HAL)

lost 1.9%.