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U.S. oil prices rise as Gulf oil rigs evacuated ahead of hurricane

U.S. oil prices rose on Tuesday, breaking past $70 per barrel, after two Gulf of Mexico oil platforms were evacuated in preparation for a hurricane.  U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $70.05 per barrel at 0353 GMT, up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent from their last settlement. Anadarko Petroleum Corp said on Monday it had evacuated and shut production at two oil platforms in the northern Gulf of Mexico ahead of the approach of Gordon, which is expected to come ashore as a hurricane.

International Brent crude futures, by contrast, lost ground, trading at $78.07 per barrel, down 8 cents from their last close. This came as India allowed state refiners to import Iranian oil if Tehran arranges and insures tankers. Many international shippers have stopped loading Iranian oil as U.S. financial sanctions against Tehran prevents them from insuring its cargoes.

Mirroring a step by China, where buyers are shifting nearly all their Iranian oil imports to vessels owned by National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC), this means that Asia’s two biggest oil importers are making plans to continue Iran purchases despite pressure by Washington to cut orders.

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