Oil rises as Israel-Hamas fight continues

Israeli soldiers march behind an armored personnel carrier in a gathering area near the Israel Gaza Strip border, in southern Israel on Nov. 18, 2012.
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

BANGKOK The price of oil rose to nearly $88 a barrel Monday in Asia as the conflict between Israel and Hamas showed no signs of abating, raising concerns about crude supplies.

Benchmark oil for December delivery was up 95 cents to $87.87 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.05 to finish at $86.92 per barrel on Friday.

Brent crude, used to price many international varieties of oil, rose 77 cents to $109.72. It closed Friday at $108.95 per barrel in London.

Gordon Kwan, head of energy research at Mirae Asset Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong, said some investors fear that oil supplies could be disrupted if the Israel-Hamas conflict engulfs countries elsewhere in the Middle East, a huge producer of crude.

The "market is putting a geopolitical premium on the price of oil amid escalating tensions between Israel and Palestine and that could continue for some time," Kwan said. The fighting comes just as winter arrives in the U.S. and China, at time when energy demands climb.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

- Heating oil rose 2.5 cents to $3.019 per gallon.

- Wholesale gasoline rose 1.5 cents to $2.697 per gallon.

- Natural gas rose 3.7 cents to $3.827 per 1,000 cubic feet.