* U.S. crude rises above $100 for first time in 2014
* U.S. unemployment rate falls in January to 6.6 percent
* Tighter North Sea supplies support Brent
(Adds settlement prices, analyst quote)
By Jeanine Prezioso and Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK, Feb 7 Oil rose by more than $2 to
one-month highs on Friday, fueled by a sharp rally in gasoline
and heating oil as supplies tightened and refiners started to
shut down plants for maintenance.
U.S. crude oil rose above $100 a barrel for the first time
this year, following a rally in the equities market triggered by
the U.S. unemployment rate falling to a five-year
The expectation for tight diesel and heating oil supplies
sent oil prices soaring as persistently cold weather across the
U.S. continued to eat into heating fuel stocks. Spiking natural
gas prices in the U.S. Northeast have prompted utilities to turn
to fuel oil for electricity generation in the region.
At the same time, European refiners cut processing runs,
meaning less product is being made, while Britain's biggest
oilfield, Buzzard, will undergo a total nine weeks of
maintenance in 2014, rather than the two weeks traders had
expected as supplies tightened.
Brent blasted above the 200-day moving average of $107.89,
then the 100-day at $108.68 and the 50-day of $108.73, setting
off additional buying pressure that boosted both the European
benchmark and U.S. crude, analysts said.
"The Brent market definitely helped lift WTI along with the
product markets," said Tariq Zahir, managing member of commodity
trading advisor Tyche Capital Advisors in New York. "We're
getting to the technical levels that give us instantaneous
Brent crude oil futures settled $2.38 higher at
$109.57, the highest point since Jan. 2.
U.S. crude settled up $2.04 to $99.88 a barrel, its
highest point since Dec. 27. U.S. crude touched above $100 a
barrel toward the end of the trading day and moved higher after
the market's close.
Brent's premium to the U.S. benchmark CL-LCO1=R widened
34 cents to $9.69 a barrel. The spread had narrowed on Wednesday
to $7.94, the tightest since Oct. 10.
U.S. heating oil futures settled 5 and 1/2 cents
higher at $3.0503 per gallon. U.S. gasoline futures rose
6.35 cents to settle at $2.7489 per gallon.
Traders raised their net long U.S. crude positions in the
week to Feb. 4, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
(CFTC) said Friday.
U.S. REFINING SEASON, IRAN
Any gains in U.S. crude that would have been capped as
refiners enter maintenance season were offset by the need for
refiners to make heating and transportation fuels.
Citgo Petroleum Corp began a shutdown of both
plants at its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Wednesday
and Motiva Enterprises LLC said it began maintenance
at its 235,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Convent, Louisiana, on
The market was keeping a wary eye on Saturday's talks
between Iran and the United Nations' International Atomic Energy
Agency in Tehran.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog hopes to persuade the Islamic
state to start addressing long-held suspicions it has worked on
designing a nuclear bomb.
Tough international sanctions over the past two years have
cut Iran's oil exports in half.
(Additional reporting by Christopher Johnson, Simon Falush and
Ron Bousso in London and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Singapore;
Editing by William Hardy, Dale Hudson, Chris Reese, Peter
Galloway and Meredith Mazzilli)