Oil price falls as Syria tension eases

WILLISTON, ND - JULY 22: A pumpjack is seen on July 22, 2013 outside Williston, North Dakota. Pumpjacks are used to mechanically pump oil and natural gas out of the earth when there is not enough natural pressure for the liquids to rise on their own. North Dakota has been experiencing an oil boom recently, brining tens of thousands of jobs to the region, lowering state unemployment and bringing a surplus to the state budget. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) Andrew Burton

BANGKOK The price of oil dropped Monday as the likelihood of an imminent U.S. attack against Syria diminished.

Benchmark crude for October delivery was down $1.03 to $106.62 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.15 to close at $107.65 on Friday.

President Barack Obama has had difficulty convincing the world about the need to take action against Syria's government in response to an alleged chemical attack last month that the U.S. says killed at least 1,429 civilians. That number is significantly higher than the death toll of 355 provided by the aid group Doctors Without Borders.

Only France is firmly on board among the major military powers, after Britain's Parliament rejected the use of force in a vote last week. Both Russia and China strongly oppose unilateral U.S. military action.

While Syria is not a major oil producer, it straddles a region that is. The possibility of a wider conflict, one that could interrupt production and shipping routes in the region, has pushed oil prices higher in recent days.

Brent crude, the benchmark for international crudes, was down 17 cents to $113.84 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

- Wholesale gasoline was down 5.6 cents to $2.87 per gallon.

- Heating oil lost 5.7 cents to $3.132 per gallon.

- Natural gas rose 3.4 cents to $3.652 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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