Iran is set to respond later Tuesday to a demand from the West that it stop enriching uranium, but a more pressing matter appeared to be taking place in the Persian Gulf, where the Islamic republic's military fired on and took over a Romanian oil rig.
According to a
report, an Iranian naval vessel opened fire on the rig with machine guns, boarded it and seized control of the radio room. The rig is owned by Romania's Grup Servicii Petroliere. A representative of the rig's owner said in the report that it has 26 workers on board.
The action comes a week after Iran said Grup Servicii Petroliere had "hijacked" another rig working near the Straits of Hormuz, a key Middle East oil-shipping route. The company said it retook the rig last week because of a contractual dispute,
On its last day of trading, the September oil futures contract rose 5 cents to $72.50 a barrel on the Nymex. Other energy contracts edged higher. Gasoline tacked on 1 cent to $1.945 a gallon, and natural gas was gaining 2 cents to $6.65 per million British thermal units.
Iran, the world's fourth-biggest crude exporter, is set to issue its reply to a Western incentives package intended to convince Tehran to drop its nuclear program. Iran has repeatedly indicated it has no plans to halt its nuclear activities, which it says are for civilian energy purposes. However, the U.S. and some of its allies fear is a cloak for a weapons program.
Premarket quotes weren't available for most major integrated oil companies, but those that were trading drifted lower.
shed 7 cents to $66.80, and
fell 42 cents to $69.80.
was giving up 8 cents to $69.75.