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Chavez Threat Prompts Jump in Oil Prices

February 11, 2008

NEW YORK --- Oil futures rose for the third straight day today amid concerns about possible supply disruptions.

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to cut off oil sales to the U.S. in response to court orders freezing assets owned by Venezuela's state oil company, AP reported.

In U.S., British and Dutch courts, Exxon Mobil Corp. has challenged Chavez's government's nationalization of Petroleos de Venezuela SA. Last week, a British court issued an injuction freezing as much as $12 billion in Petroleos' assets. 

Traders appeared to be concerned about Chavez's threats as well as new violence in Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer. Earlier today, gunmen attacked a naval vessel that was escorting petroleum industry boats.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery jumped $1.64 to $93.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after reaching $94.72 earlier.

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