Updated from 1:48 p.m. EDT
Crude prices rose Wednesday as the U.S. and its allies stepped up pressure on Iran to approve a plan aimed at ending its nuclear research program.
Oil for August delivery settled up 90 cents at $70.25 a barrel, rising despite an Energy Department inventory report that showed big builds in crude and other fuels last week.
Speaking in Vienna, President Bush said Iran is taking too long to review a set of western-sponsored incentives offered in the hope of ending the country's nuclear-enriching program. Earlier, Iran said it would need until mid-August to render a verdict on the package, which includes the waiving of economic sanctions and increased access to aircraft parts made by
"It should not take the Iranians that long to analyze what is a reasonable deal," Bush said.
Wednesday morning, the Energy Department said crude inventories rose last week by 1.39 million barrels, leaving overall stocks in the U.S. at their highest level in eight years. Analysts had expected a slight drawdown in crude. Gasoline inventories rose by 300,000 barrels, while distillate inventories rose by 1.7 million.
Most energy-related shares were in rally mode, including
, up 4.3%;
, up 3.4%; and
, up 3%.
gained 1.9% and the Amex Oil Index was up 2.7%.