NEW YORK, N.Y. – The price of oil rose slightly Friday, finishing February with a gain of five per cent for the month.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery rose 19 cents to close at US$102.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For all of February, oil gained US$5.10 a barrel.

U.S. refineries needed crude oil to make heating oil and diesel as frigid and stormy weather boosted demand.

Natural gas ended a wild month by gaining 10 cents Friday to US$4.61 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The price soared in the middle of the month as homeowners raised the thermostat and supplies fell sharply. But those gains quickly evaporated as forecasts called for warmer temperatures by the middle of March. For February, natural gas futures lost 33 cents, or nearly seven per cent.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, rose 11 cents to US$109.07 on the ICE Futures exchange in London on Friday.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex, wholesale gasoline rose three cents to US$2.79 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres) and heating oil was flat at US$3.09 per gallon.

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