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Energy Prices Rise

MARKETSCOPE : Energy prices were up on Thursday, as Royal Dutch Shell officials tried to cope with a strike over pension benefits by oil workers.

December West Texas Intermediate crude was up $1.95 to $61.70, December heating oil futures were up 4.71 cents to 183.00 cents, and December gasoline futures were up 5.59 cents to 162.50.

December natural gas futures were up 7 cents to $11.67, after the Energy Information Administration reported working natural gas in storage rose 29 billion cubic feet to 3,168 billion cubic feet during the week ended Oct. 28. Still, the stocks are 119 Bcf less than last year at this time.

The oil major Shell is scaling down production at its Rotterdam refinery, Europe's biggest, potentially tightening pre-winter fuel supplies due to a strike that began Monday. The first Shell walkout since 1979 over pension benefits also threatens to curtail output at Shell's 418,000-barrels-per-day Pernis refinery, which is a major supplier of transport and heating fuels to Europe and exports gasoline to the United States. The Dutch social ministry has said the government could not interfere and it was up to the two sides to solve the dispute.

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