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Oil prices jump $2 after report of lower US supplies

NEW YORK -- Crude oil prices rose more than $2 a barrel yesterday after a report showed US inventories dropped last week, OPEC members began taking steps to cut production, and Nigerian villagers attacked oil facilities.

Though global supplies are still relatively ample and some skepticism remains about OPEC's willingness to go through with the 1.2 million barrel-a-day reduction it set last week, yesterday's news drove traders to bet on tightening supplies going into the winter, when fuel demand increases.

Natural gas prices also climbed on the possibility of a colder than normal winter, surging 8.5 percent.

Light sweet crude for December delivery climbed $2.05 to settle at $61.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on London's ICE futures exchange rose $2.19 to settle at $62.05 a barrel.

Crude oil stockpiles fell 3.3 million barrels to 332.3 million in the week ending Oct. 20, the US Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said. Distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell 1.4 million barrels to 144 million, and gasoline supplies dropped by 2.8 million barrels to 207.4 million.

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