January 23, 2007 3:30 PM, EST

Crude Oil Price Rises, Topping $55 a Barrel

U.S. to Double Size of SPR by 2027, DOE Says
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Crude oil prices surged more than $2 a barrel Tuesday after Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said President Bush plans to double the size of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve by 2027, Bloomberg reported.Benchmark light sweet crude oil futures for March delivery rose $2.46 to close at $55.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, Bloomberg reported. The February delivery contract ended Monday.Oil closed at a one-year low of $50.48 a barrel last Thursday after briefly falling below $50 in intraday trading. Prices closed at a record high of $77.03 last July.The country will boost the SPR’s capacity to 1.5 billion barrels over the next two decades from its current capacity of 727 million barrels, Bodman said in a conference call with reporters, Bloomberg reported. Prices had also climbed due to cooler weather, which was likely to boost demand for heating oil, Bloomberg said. Diesel and heating oil are both distillate fuels and their prices often parallel each other in winter months.