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December 26, 2007 8:00 AM, EST

Oil Rises to Near $95 a Barrel

Frank Polich/Bloomberg News

Oil prices rose to near $95 a barrel early Wednesday on forecasts that crude inventories will continue to decline, the Associated Press reported.

Benchmark light sweet crude futures rose 53 cents to $94.66 a barrel in overnight electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, AP said.

Oil rose 82 cents to settle at $94.13 a barrel on Monday. The Nymex was closed Tuesday for Christmas.

Heating oil futures gained 1.03 cents to $2.605 a gallon while gasoline prices rose 0.81 cent to $2.392, AP said. Heating oil prices often parallel diesel as both are distillate fuels, but both the heating oil and gasoline prices do not include taxes paid by consumers.

Crude oil supplies in the United States are expected to fall 1.2 million barrels, the sixth straight decline, according to economists’ forecasts, AP said.

The Energy Department’s weekly inventory report will be issued Thursday this week because of Christmas.