Brent edges up, U.S. crude falls after hurricane

Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:42pm EDT
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By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brent crude prices rose in choppy trading on Thursday, supported by supply concerns and geopolitical tensions, while U.S. crude fell as oil companies assessed damage after Hurricane Isaac's trek through the region.

A possible strike by Norway's oil services workers, upcoming North Sea maintenance and the ongoing dispute over Iran's nuclear program continue to bolster Brent prices.

Brent remained on pace to post a second straight monthly gain of more than 7 percent, with U.S. crude also on track for a 7 percent rise in August.

"Brent has more geopolitical risk associated with it and it is North Sea maintenance season," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Iran is preparing for a possible major expansion of uranium enrichment in a fortified underground facility, the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report on Friday.

The IAEA said "no concrete results" have been reached in talks with Iran this year and that important differences remain.

Brent October crude edged up 11 cents to settle at $112.65 a barrel, having swung from $112.25 to $113.44.

On August 16, Brent hit a three-month peak at $117.03 as the September contract expired and went off the board at $116.90 a barrel, the highest settlement since May 2.   Continued...