Bloomberg News

Gasoline Futures Sink as EU Iran Oil Embargo Said Likely Delayed

January 12, 2012

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Gasoline slid, reversing an earlier gain, after a report that a European Union embargo on imports of Iranian oil may be delayed six months, according to an EU official with knowledge of the talks.

Futures fell 1.2 percent. The delay will allow countries such as Italy and Spain to find alternative supply, the EU official said, declining to be identified because the talks are private. The embargo would need to be approved by the 27 nation- bloc’s foreign ministers on Jan. 23.

“The story saying the embargo is going to be delayed six months kicked this off and we saw liquidation selling,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Gasoline for February delivery fell 3.2 cents to settle at $2.7313 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after touching $2.8245.

Crude oil contract tumbled $1.77 to $99.10, the first settlement below $100 since Dec. 30.

EU members, including France and Germany, have pushed for an embargo to pressure Iran over its nuclear program. Iran, the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumped 3.58 million barrels of crude a day last month, according to Bloomberg News estimates.

Iran has threatened to block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a conduit for about 20 percent of the world’s traded oil, if sanctions are imposed.

February-delivery heating oil declined 1.05 cents, or 0.3 percent, to settle at $3.0541 a gallon, after touching $3.1364.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 1 cent to $3.382 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data. Prices are the highest since Nov. 17.

--With assistance from Thomas Penny in London. Editors: David Marino, Bill Banker

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara J Powell in Dallas at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net


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