The price of oil fell Wednesday amid uncertainty over U.S. plans to launch a punitive strike against Syria.
By midday in New York, U.S. benchmark oil for October delivery was down $1.29, or 1.2 percent, to $107.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, was down 66 cents to $115.02 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
During a visit to Sweden, President Barack Obama said the credibility of the international community and Congress is on the line in the debate over how to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
As Obama made his case, his appeal for military intervention ran into trouble on Capitol Hill. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed its public meeting and met in private after Sen. John McCain, an outspoken advocate of intervention, said he did not support the latest version of the Senate resolution to authorize military force.
The U.S. says it has proof that the regime of President Bashar Assad was behind attacks that Washington claims killed at least 1,429 people, including more than 400 children. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collects information from a network of anti-regime activists, says it has so far only been able to confirm 502 dead.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West Wednesday against taking one-sided action in Syria but also said Russia “doesn’t exclude” supporting a U.N. resolution on punitive military strikes if it is proved that Damascus used poison gas on its own people.
While Syria is not a major oil producer, the possibility of a wider conflict could interrupt production and shipping routes in the region, said Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Energy Companies.
Syria, he said, is a “small, delicate pin in the world’s major oil grenade and it could blow up in the world’s face if the U.S. is not very careful.”
Investors will later be monitoring fresh information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products.
Data for the week ending Aug. 30 is expected to show draws of 2.5 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 Wednesday, while the report from the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration — the market benchmark — will be out on Thursday.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.86 per gallon.
— Heating oil fell 1 cent to $3.14 per gallon.
— Natural gas dropped 2 cents to $3.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
American Red Cross workers stayed busy Saturday at a holiday blood drive in Boardman.
A Canfield student is competing on national television Saturday for $100,000 in tuition money.
Allegiant Airlines will begin charging a fee for printing boarding passes beginning May 1, 2014.
Several hundred fans made the trip to Massillon to cheer on the Youngstown Cardinal Mooney football team as it went for its ninth state championship.
A Salem woman was arrested on a drug charge after a raid at her home on Thursday.
After 40 years, Dr. Richard Billak, who started the Community Corrections Association, is retiring at the end of December.
A group of local drug store workers spent part of their day giving back to some of the area's less fortunate.
The Youngstown Air Reserve Station confirmed Friday that the "Thunder Over the Valley" air show will return in the spring.
Students from Leonard Kirtz School were at Pioneer Farm in Poland on Friday, picking out some Christmas trees for U.S. service members.
Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Students from Youngstown schools enter their artwork for the recycling calendar contest in hopes that it will make it into the calendar.
This weekend, a benefit will be held for a Trumbull County woman who lost her home after a car crashed into it, knocking the home off its foundation.
The Mahoning County Coroner's office has finally been able to identify the remains of Jacqueline Rowe of Youngstown, who was last seen in July of 1996.
On Thursday, humane agents found a young pitbull terrier mix locked inside of a room at a home at 88 Elliot St. on Youngstown's East Side.
Better weather Saturday with another storm system moving in by Sunday afternoon.
Two local communities, Youngstown and Hubbard, have set holiday parades for Saturday.