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Oil prices fall as pipeline supply concerns ease

The price of oil is falling after TransCanada reaffirmed plans to restart a pipeline this weekend that carries crude from Canada to the Midwest.

Benchmark oil dropped $1.70, or 1.9 percent, Friday to $90.40 per barrel in New York.

TransCanada closed the 2,100-mile pipeline Wednesday after tests showed possible safety issues. Company spokesman Shawn Howard said in an email that TransCanada expects crude to start flowing through the pipeline again on Saturday. He said no leaks have been detected, but he could not provide more specifics about the cause of the closure until the pipeline is inspected.

The pipeline carries about 590,000 barrels of crude per day between Canada and Midwestern facilities.

Oil traders largely consider the temporary closure to be a non-issue because U.S. crude supplies are plentiful. Analysts don’t expect any impact on national retail gas prices.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think the market would react that dramatically if it were down for a long period of time because there’s so much more oil in Cushing, Okla., (storage facilities) right now,” Price Futures Group oil analyst Phil Flynn said.

Meanwhile, retail gasoline prices fell 2 cents overnight to $3.715 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That’s nearly 10 cents less than a week ago but still 24 cents more than last year at this time.

In London, Brent crude fell $1.71 to $110.71 per barrel.

In other energy trading in New York:

— Heating oil fell 3 cents to $3.14 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline fell 4 cents to $2.70 per gallon.

— Natural gas rose 4 cents to $3.62 per 1,000 cubic feet.