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Oil prices diverge amid Iraq, US inventories concerns

Global oil prices were mixed ahead of US data expected to show a rise in crude inventories, while traders kept watch on the escalating Iraq crisis.

NEW YORK: Global oil prices were mixed on Tuesday, a day ahead of US data expected to show a rise in crude inventories, while traders kept watch on the escalating Iraq crisis.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for July delivery finished at $106.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 54 cents from Monday's close.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for August delivery rose 51 cents to $113.45 a barrel, its highest close since September 9, 2013.

The US market was positioning itself for the US Department of Energy's weekly inventories report on Wednesday, said Carl Larry of Oil Outlook and Opinions.

Larry said the DoE is expected to report a slight rise in US crude supplies for last week.

New York traders also appeared to be booking profits from rallies that pushed WTI and Brent to nine-month highs Friday after Sunni extremists seized northern territory in oil-producer Iraq.

Risks of disruption to Iraq's oil output will remain limited despite the worsening crisis, BP chief executive Bob Dudley said Tuesday, while expressing alarm at the unrest.

"At the moment oil production isn't affected," Dudley said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Moscow.

"I don't believe that this kind of difficulty and instability will spread all the way to the far south of Iraq" -- home to the majority of the country's oil operations.

"But we should all be very alarmed by what is happening," Dudley said.

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