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Oil Falls as U.S. Supply Gain Counters Output Disruption

Oil gained in New York, erasing losses and trading below $80 a barrel for a fifth day as disruptions to Norway’s output and a possible shortfall from Iran offset concern that use is ebbing amid Europe’s debt woes.

Futures rose as much 0.5 percent after Norwegian fields closed in a labor dispute and as the European Union prepares additional sanctions on Iran’s energy industry. Iranian exports will fall “gradually” fall during maintenance on fields and reservoirs and as the EU embargo takes effect starting July 1, Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Qalebani said yesterday. EU leaders will begin a two-day summit meeting tomorrow to address the bloc’s debt crisis.

Oil for August delivery rose as much as 42 cents to $79.78 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and traded at $78.64 at 8:19 a.m. local time. Crude recovered earlier losses of as much as 0.9 percent. Prices have fallen more than 22 percent this quarter, the biggest drop since the final three months of 2008.

“Markets in general are in a ‘wait-and-see’ mode and skewed toward the bearish side,” Filip Petersson, a commodity strategist at Stockholm-based SEB AB, said by telephone today. “Everything is driven by the EU summit,” he said. Supply disruptions in Norway and potential cuts in Iranian exports may provide “support elements in the medium term.”

Brent oil for August settlement gained 2 cents to $93.04 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

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