Crude up in Asia amid Middle East conflict


Crude prices were up in Asia Monday on supply concerns amid the escalating Israel-Palestine conflict and following an explosion on a Gulf of Mexico oil rig, analysts said. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in January, added 62 cents to $87.54 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for January delivery gained 51 cents to $109.46. “Crude futures rose as a fire on a Gulf of Mexico platform and the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinians stoked supply concerns,” Phillip Futures said in a report. In the oil-rich Middle East, the Gaza Strip came under renewed bombardment Sunday as Israeli air strikes killed 31 Palestinians in the bloodiest day of its campaign so far. Despite intensified diplomatic efforts to broker a truce, there was no let-up in the bloodshed in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. A blast rocked a rig operated by Houston-based Black Elk Energy in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday but did not cause a major spill, the US coastguard said. Divers found one body late Saturday. Two workers had been missing since the accident but coastguard spokesman Carlos Vega would not say if the body found was that of one of those two people.