By The Associated Press
2013-09-11 03:01 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil dropped 2 percent Tuesday as support grew behind a plan for Syria to cede possession of its chemical weapons and avoid a military strike by the U.S.
Oil prices have been at elevated levels for two weeks following President Barack Obama's call for military action against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad in retaliation for what the White House says was a chemical weapons attack against civilians.
But on Tuesday, a diplomatic solution seemed at hand after Syria said it had accepted a deal pushed by Russia -- and based on comments by Secretary of State John Kerry -- to put its chemical weapons under international control for their later dismantling.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Tuesday in Moscow that his government had agreed to the Russian initiative.
Obama threw his support behind a plan for U.N. Security Council talks aimed at securing Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles. Still, he was poised to address the American people from the White House on Tuesday night, ready to press the case for congressionally approved military action if diplomacy falls short.
In the oil markets, investors will be monitoring fresh information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products.
Data for the week ending Sept. 6 are expected to show declines of 2 million barrels in crude oil stocks and 1 million barrels in gasoline stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The American Petroleum Institute will release its report on oil stocks later Tuesday, while the report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration -- the market benchmark -- will be out on Wednesday.
Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, was down $2.41, or 2.1 percent, to $111.31 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
-- Wholesale gasoline fell 6 cents to $2.75 per gallon.
-- Natural gas lost 4 cents to $3.56 per 1,000 cubic feet.
-- Heating oil retreated 5 cents to $3.07 per gallon.
Pablo Gorondi in Budapest and Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this report.