U.S. stockpiles of distillates, including heating oil and diesel, fell 5 million barrels last week, or 3.8 percent, the biggest drop since September 2005, according to the Energy Department. The U.S. and European nations will meet next week to draft a second sanctions resolution against Iran, the second- largest Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producer.
``The main risk to the oil price is either a boycott of trade, isolating Iran, or a military attack,'' because either would ``influence the production and supply of oil from Iran to the world market,'' said Thina Saltvedt, an analyst at Nordea Bank AB in Oslo. Distillate inventories ``will influence the price'' until winter ends in the Northern Hemisphere, she said.
Crude oil for April delivery advanced as much as 57 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $61.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and traded at $61.04 at 12:02 p.m. in London. The previous intraday trading high occurred Dec. 26, when oil touched $63.20 in New York.