Crude futures are fractionally higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday, having rebounded from a 60-cent drop earlier in the trading session.

August light sweet crude is up 16 cents at $69 a barrel. Reformulated gasoline shed a penny to close at $2.24 a gallon. Heating oil climbed a penny to $2.04 a gallon.

The near-term natural gas contract lost 4 cents, closing at $7.36 per million British thermal units.

A nationwide Nigerian labor union went on strike on Wednesday, leaving energy traders and analysts concerned about potential supply disruptions.

According to Eurasia Group analyst Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, the Nigerian government has already agreed to most of the union's demands and the strike will likely end ahead of the coming weekend. Although the exact repercussions of the strike aren't yet known, they don't appear to have affected oil production.

The strike is the first in two years that Nigeria's unions were able to organize successfully, according to Spio-Garbrah. The successful staging of the strike and its apparently quick conclusion could be a harbinger of future engagements between Nigeria's government and its labor unions.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its weekly natural gas inventory report. It shows that natural gas stores increased by 89 billion cubic feet during the week ending June 15. The inventory build was in line with analyst estimates.

Meanwhile, energy stocks moved to the upside in Thursday's session. The CBOE Oil Index advanced 2% to 768.15.


(COP) - Get Report

jumped 2% to $79.91.


(CVX) - Get Report

climbed 2% to $82.74.


(XOM) - Get Report

also moved 2% higher to $84.53.