Oil prices reverse gains

2011-03-08 09:50

Singapore - Crude prices slipped in Asia on Tuesday as the United States refused to rule out tapping its oil reserves to ameliorate the impact of high oil prices, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, fell 41c to $105.03 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for April delivery shed 13c to $114.91.

Crude markets were depressed by White House chief of staff William Daley's comments on Sunday that the US had not ruled out tapping its strategic oil reserves in the face of spiking prices, said Ong Yi Ling, investment analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore

"The US government is considering tapping its oil reserves so that could limit some of the upside for oil," she said.

However, Ong said the dip in crude prices would be short-lived, as cyber-activists in Opec kingpin Saudi Arabia called for protests demanding change in the kingdom this Friday.

The Saudi interior ministry and top clerics slammed the calls while the US stressed the right to protest in the country, setting the stage for a volatile encounter which might threaten the stability of the ultra-conservative state.